The Arab Coalition has seized a new Iranian missile shipment off the Yemeni coast that was destined for the Houthi rebels, officials said on Monday.

Saudi representatives of the Coalition revealed new details about the shipment in a press conference, hosted by Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya, in which they displayed footage and images of the operation.

They said a vessel carrying Iranian weapons was intercepted 12 days ago off the coast of Yemen. Al Arabiya English showed images of the weapons, and quoted an Arab Coalition official saying that the wooden vessel was found off of the coast of the Yemeni city of Mocha.

“Iran is seeking despite the embargo to export weapons to terrorist groups,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir told the conference.

“What if no embargo?” Mr Al Jubair said, urging the UN to keep the embargo against Iran that remains in place.

He said Saudi Arabia “strongly backs” US President Donald Trump’s efforts for Iran to change its behaviour, including withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposing a swathe of sanctions on the regime.

The arms embargo so far has stopped Iran from purchasing fighter jets, tanks, warships and other weaponry, but has failed to halt its smuggling of weapons into war zones.

The US special envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, addressed the conference, saying he was in the region “to emphasise our bilateral relations and the diplomatic moves” to restrain the Islamic republic.

He said if the UN arms embargo against Iran is lifted, Tehran will be able to further develop its military capabilities and threaten maritime navigation in the Gulf.

Mr Hook said lifting the embargo would also encourage an “arms race” in the region.

The revelation of the new weapons cache comes after the United Nations said earlier this month that it had determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the United States and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and an international airport last year.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said some of the items seized by the US in November 2019 and February 2020 “were identical or similar” to those found after the cruise missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in 2019.

Source » thenational