- UK officials announced on Thurs. that the Royal Navy's HMS Montrose earlier this year had seized a shipment of Iranian advanced surface-to-air missiles and engines for land-attack cruise missiles in the Gulf of Oman.1
- The cargo was allegedly heading to Yemen. According to the UK Ministry of Defense, Houthis have fired this type of weapon against Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the past.2
- Supported by the US Navy destroyer USS Gridley, the British warship reportedly interdicted suspected speedboats during two operations - in Jan. and Feb. - to enforce UN Security Council resolutions aimed at repressing Iranian arms supplies to the Houthis.3
- This statement likely indicates rising regional tensions as Western officials previously avoided assigning Iranian responsibility for arming the Houthis.4
- This comes as US Pres. Biden is set to travel to the Middle East within a week, with scheduled visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are reportedly examining deepening ties to counter Iran and the Houthis.5
- War broke out in Yemen in 2014, driving the country to a humanitarian disaster. Though a truce has been in effect since April this year, both Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition have accused the other of violating it.4
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Iranpress. Having sold almost $10B of advanced weapons to the anti-Yemen coalition so far, Britain has no credibility to make such accusations against Iran. Though London blames Tehran for the humanitarian crisis and the conflict, it's Britain who is partnering with a war criminal coalition.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Arab news. This seizure confirms a longtime suspicion that Iran has been sneaking arms to Yemeni Houthis in a breach of the UN weapon embargo. By doing so, Tehran has been undermining peace efforts in the country and is prolonging the conflict.