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France seizes Iran assault rifles, missiles heading to Yemen

by News Desk
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John Gambrel, Associated Press

Published Thursday, February 2, 2023 6:46AM EST

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The French navy seized thousands of assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank missiles destined for Yemen’s Houthi rebels from Iran in the Gulf of Oman in January, officials said Thursday. said to A long-running war between Middle Eastern nations.

Iran denied any involvement, but images of the weapons released by the US Central Command showed similarities to other weapons captured by US forces in other shipments linked to Tehran.

The announcement comes as Iran ships drones to arm Russia during its war with Ukraine and mounting Western pressure over months of violent crackdowns on protesters. sometimes done. Tensions in the region have also increased after a suspected Israeli drone attack on a military workshop in the central Iranian city of Isfahan. Previous cycles of violence since the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers have seen the Islamic Republic launch retaliatory strikes at sea.

The seizure occurred on January 15 in the Gulf of Oman, a body of water stretching from the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. U.S. Central Command said the ban was occurring “along the route historically used for the illicit arms trade from Iran to Yemen.”

The UN resolution decreed that Yemen’s Iran-backed government had seized the country’s capital in late 2014 and has been at war with a Saudi-led coalition backing the country’s internationally recognized government since March 2015. It prohibits the transfer of weapons to the Houthi rebels.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the seizure and identified the forces involved as elite French commandos. Two of his officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the details of the operation, also identified the French as carrying out the seizure. bottom.

The French military did not respond to a request for comment on the seizure of weapons. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in an online message that Tehran had supplied weapons to the ship, saying the accusations were “politically motivated”.

Although France maintains a naval base in Abu Dhabi, it typically takes a quieter approach in the region while maintaining a diplomatic presence in Iran.

Iran has long denied the Houthis were armed, but Western countries, UN experts and others have tracked weapons dating from night vision scopes, rifles and missiles to Tehran. Houthi ballistic missile launches have hit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the past. I’ve been

Images taken by the U.S. Central Command on Wednesday and analyzed by the AP show various weapons aboard an unidentified vessel apparently docked in a port. Weapons apparently included his Chinese-made Type 56 rifle, his Russian-made Molot AKS20U, and a PKM-type machine gun. All show up in other seized weapons attributed to Iran.

According to Central Command, the seizures included more than 3,000 rifles and 578,000 rounds of ammunition. The released images also include 23 container-launched anti-tank missiles, which have also appeared in other shipments linked to Iran.

The war in Yemen has gone from bad to worse, turning into a stalemate and creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. However, no Saudi-led airstrikes have been recorded in Yemen since the kingdom began a ceasefire at the end of March 2022, according to the Yemen Data Project.

The ceasefire expired in October despite diplomatic efforts to renew it. There are fears that this could escalate the war again. In Yemen, he killed over 150,000 of his people during the fighting, including over 14,500 civilians.

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