The UK captured two shipments of highly sophisticated Iranian missiles with the help of the US. These missiles were to be smuggled to Yemen, which is the home of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now.
Iran’s Sophisticated Missiles Confiscated in International Waters
In both instances, UK-based HMS Montrose first detected the movement of controversial speedboats carrying the weapons away from the Iranian coast.
The boat was chased using a wildcat helicopter which was on its routine security check. This traced the boat with the help of a US NAVY destroyer, USS Gridley.
INBOX: US military busts shipment of “surface-to-air missiles and cruise-missile rocket engines originating in Iran” pic.twitter.com/aKb7oyWg1h
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) July 7, 2022
Eventually, British officials used hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) to reach the Iranian missile carrier to inspect them on the spot.
According to a statement released by the British embassy in Washington, this is the first time British ships intercepted “sophisticated weapons” from Iran.
Supplying missiles in Yemen is a violation of the 2015 arms embargo of the UN Security Council. Iran has long denied supporting those rebels in the Yemen civil war.
UK Royal Navy seized advanced Iranian weapons from speedboats in International waters south of #Iran in early 2022. Cruise missiles seized similar to ones used by #Houthi rebels in attacks against Saudi Arabia/UAE; weapons likely being smuggled to Yemen.
— Nadim Koteich (@NadimKoteich) July 8, 2022
After the chase, “dozens of packages” of “advanced weaponry” were confiscated. This included 351 land-attack cruise weapons and 358 surface-to-air missiles, the British embassy asserted.
Houthi rebels often use the confiscated land-cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia, which is traditionally backed by the United States in its war.
Following the seizure, Claire Thompson, the commander of HMS Montrose in charge of the operation, appreciated the “professionalism” of his team.
He specifically mentioned the Royal Navy sailors, Royal Marines, and aircrew for their timely response, which helped the world in maintaining the law at sea.
Once the weapons were shifted to the UK after the seizure, the UK Ministry of Defense technically examined them in accordance with the protocols of the UN Security Council.
Biden is Backing Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
This assertive approach of the UK also reveals a change in its strategy against Iran, as it never tried to put the blame for supporting Houthi rebels directly on Iran.
The episode also reveals the extent to which Iran developed its missile technology, which poses a significant threat to stability in the Middle East.
Since the start of the Yemen war in 2014, nearly 377,000 Yemeni people have been killed in what is known as the worst humanitarian crisis in modern-day history.
While Iran supports Houthis, subsequent American governments have also drawn ire for supporting Saudi dictators who mercilessly bombard Yemeni children and other innocent citizens.
Democratic progressives have asked Biden to withdraw his support of the Saudi government, but the president is reluctant to do so. Iran is considered the major strategic rival of the US in the Middle East.
In fact, to further cement these US-Saudi relations, Biden is all set to fly to Saudi Arabia to meet the king, who has repeatedly broken international law in Yemen.
Biden’s upcoming visit is already drawing criticism. The president who claims to be the so-called defender of human rights, will sit down with the king and request him to release more oil into the market to bring US prices down.