Australian navy seizes 10 tons of arms for Houthis

Commander Philip Henry, the captain of the Australian warship HMS Darwin

The Australian navy on Wednesday reported the capture of an Iranian fishing boat in Yemeni territorial waters that was smuggling 10 tons of weapons, which were reportedly route to be delivered to Iran’s Houthi militia allies in Yemen.

Commander Philip Henry, the captain of the Australian warship HMS Darwin, said that his patrol had successfully detained the vessel engaged in illicit arms smuggling, saying that it had been “spotted in the middle of the night as it was heading south.”

Speaking about the incident, Commander Henry said, “We were able to confiscate these weapons and prevent them from falling into hands of Houthis.” He added, “Our team spent more than 24 hours inspecting the boat searching for drugs or weapons. We managed to find weapons hidden under for tons of fishing nets. Removing the fishing nets took five hours [after which] we discovered 2,000 machine guns, RPGs, and other similar weapons.

This is the latest in a number of similar incidents, with Iran’s continuing arming of the Houthi militias in Yemen assisting them to persist in heavy fighting against the legitimate Yemeni government’s forces. The Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemeni government has warned of the threats posed by the Houthi rebels to maritime traffic in the Gulf.

Iran’s regime has boasted repeatedly in recent years of controlling four Arab nations – Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon – leading to increased sectarian tensions across the region. Speaking in late 2014, a member of the Iranian parliament close to the Supreme Leader Khamenei declared, “Three Arab capitals [Beirut, Damascus, and Baghdad] have already fallen into Iran’s hands and belong to the Iranian Revolution,” suggesting that Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, would be the fourth.

Also on Wednesday, a senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that the regime’s missile production had increased threefold in recent years.

The official Fars News Agency quoted Brigadier-General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace division, as saying, “Our production has increased three-fold compared to the past. In the past, we had to do a lot of explaining to various bodies for our actions but it’s not like that anymore.”