Iran rejects UK claim of seizing Yemen-Bound weapons
Tehran rejected Britain’s claim that it had seized advanced weaponry being smuggled from Iran towards Yemen, the Iranian foreign ministry said.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence on Thursday said one of its warships on patrol in the Gulf earlier this year seized the arms shipment, which contravened a UN Security Council resolution to prevent support for Yemen’s Houthis rebels.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani rejected Britain’s claim as “baseless,” accusing the UK of being complicit in the war in Yemen.
London’s past weapons sales to Saudi Arabia gave it no “moral authority to make a claim against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in 2015 to back Yemen’s internationally recognized government after the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital Sanaa the year before.
“By continuously selling advanced weapons to the self-proclaimed military coalition against the defenseless people of Yemen, Britain has been a partner in the war and aggression against Yemen,” Kanani continued.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence said the HMS Montrose intercepted speedboats carrying surface-to-air-missiles and engines for land attack cruise missiles while on routine patrols on two occasions in January and February.
The ministry added that the types of cruise missiles seized are regularly used by Houthi rebels in Yemen to strike targets in Saudi Arabia.
Those models were fired into Abu Dhabi in January, in an attack that killed three civilians, it said.
Iran has widely been reported to offer material support to the Houthi rebels during the seven-year war, a claim rejected by Tehran.