*** ----> Huge arms cache from Iran seized | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Huge arms cache from Iran seized

Agencies | Tehran

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

A fishing trawler smuggling “more than 50 tonnes of ammunition rounds, fuses and propellants for rockets” was intercepted by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Gulf of Oman along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen on December 1.

“Navy personnel operating from expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) discovered the illicit cargo during a flag verification boarding, marking US 5th Fleet’s second major illegal weapons seizure within a month,” it added in a statement yesterday.

The trawler was carrying more than 1 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition; 25,000 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition; nearly 7,000 proximity fuses for rockets; and over 2,100 kilograms of propellant used to launch rocket-propelled grenades.

"This significant interdiction clearly shows that Iran’s unlawful transfer of lethal aid and destabilising behaviour continues,” said Vice Adm.

Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.

“US naval forces remain focused on deterring and disrupting dangerous and irresponsible maritime activity in the region.”

The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law.

Two weeks ago, Tim Hawkins, a spokesman of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, said that the United States is ready to confront any Iranian threats to the region.

In a statement to Al Arabiya, he said that the US is committed to preserving the security of the Straits of the Bab al-Mandeb and the Straits of Hormuz.

US 5th Fleet previously intercepted a fishing vessel illegally shipping lethal aid from Iran to Yemen on November 8.

US Coast Guard ship USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) intercepted the vessel in the Gulf of Oman.

A weeklong search assisted by patrol coastal ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) and Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians from US 5th Fleet’s Task Force 56 discovered more than 70 tons of ammonium perchlorate, a powerful oxidiser commonly used to make rocket and missile fuel as well as explosives.

US forces also found more than 100 tons of urea fertiliser, a chemical compound with agricultural applications that are also known for use as an explosive precursor.