The United States commends the Government of Yemen for its successful and significant interdiction of a vessel attempting to smuggle a large cache of Iranian-supplied weapons, explosives and other munitions into Yemen. At a press conference in Sana’a earlier today, Yemeni government officials noted that their investigation thus far shows that these weapons were loaded onto the vessel in Iran and were intended for armed insurgents operating in Yemen. Yemen’s decision to bring this incident to the attention of the United Nations Security Council underscores its vigilance in countering threats to its sovereignty, its ongoing political transition, and the region’s stability.
According to Yemeni government officials, their initial investigation has revealed that the vessel was carrying a large shipment of explosives, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, IED precursors, and most disturbingly, man-portable anti-aircraft missiles. These weapons are clearly designed to cause significant damage with the highest possible number of casualties and are a threat to both Yemen and the region. Paragraph 5 of UNSCR 1747 expressly prohibits Iran from exporting arms and related material, and, in light of this evidence, the United States encourages the UN Sanctions Committee to respond immediately to the Yemeni Government’s request to send a Panel of Experts to examine the seized weapons and bring its findings to the Security Council.
The origin of the vessel and weapons underscores Iran’s ongoing evasion of six relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Iran continues to defy the international community through its proliferation activities and support for destabilizing action in the region. The international community must continue to speak with one voice and work to ensure that Iran adheres to all of its international obligations.