Iran: U.S. officials say Iran is supplying weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen

NBC has reported that U.S. officials believe Iran has supplied weapons to Houthis in Yemen. The head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Kevin Donegan, who is tasked with securing the waters around Yemen, told NBC that he believes the U.S. and partner nations have intercepted five shipments of weapons to Yemen from Iran.

He said the first interception was in April last year when a ship carrying weapons, guarded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy, attempted to gain entry to Yemen. NBC say that since then, there have been another four ships with weapons stopped. 

Donegan said: “We know they came from Iran and we know the destination.” He also said that it appears Iran is training rebel fighters. “It’s not something that’s going to come with an instruction manual. We think that Iran had some hand in this.”

Despite the interceptions, Donegan is sure that other shipments from Iran made it into Yemen. “Since that overt weapons shipment, I think that you can connect the dots that those things have been working their way, higher end weapons systems have found their way to Yemen, and they didn’t just appear on their own.”

NBC also reports that after Houthis fired missiles at several U.S. Navy ships, the military responded “by taking out three radar sites along the coast”.

The head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said that despite the strikes being successful, it did not destroy the Houthis’ capabilities because it is likely that they have other radars along the coast. “Certainly taking out these three radar sites that we struck is important, but we should expect that with time they can re-establish these things and when they have that ability we’ll be back in place.”

Donegan also agreed that the radar sites will be re-set. “I absolutely believe the capability still exists. The radar sites, we disrupted their capabilities, we did not take away their capabilities.” He added that the U.S. is working hard to locate the mobile missile launchers that were used by Houthis to launch missiles at the U.S. Navy. He added: “In case there is a further attack we want to know about that network and how they do their business.”