WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 30th October, 2020) The United States has filed a forfeiture complaint in a bid to seize missiles and other weapons it found on board two Iranian ships captured en route Yemen, US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in on Thursday.
“The Justice Department today announced the filing of a complaint to forfeit two shipments of Iranian missiles that the US Navy seized in transit from Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to militant groups in Yemen,” Demers said in a press briefing.
The US Navy seized two unflagged ships in November 2019 and February 2020 in the Arabian Sea. They found large stockpiles of weapons aboard, including 171 guided anti-tank missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, and various other missile components.
“Subsequent investigation revealed the ships’ cargo to be of Iranian manufacture and consistent with known Iranian weapon systems,” Demers said. “Additional analysis revealed that the arms were from the IRCG-Quds Force and destined for militant groups in Yemen.
The Justice Department filed its complaint to seek to forfeit the seized weapons in August 2020, but only announced the move on Thursday, while also revealing that the US had sold some 1.1 million barrels of seized Iranian petroleum. This forfeiture move to seize the weapons is part of a larger investigation into Iranian weapons smuggling network, it said in a statement.
“The network was involved in the illicit trafficking of advanced conventional weapons systems and components, including systems that contain US-origin components, by sanctioned Iranian entities that directly support military action by the Houthis movement in Yemen and the Iranian regime’s campaign of terrorist activities throughout the region,” the statement said.