A fishing boat in the Gulf of Oman was carrying more than 2,000 assault rifles last week when it was stopped by forces assigned to U.S. Central Command, Navy officials said Tuesday.
The dhow was traveling from Iran to Yemen on Friday when the coastal patrol ship USS Monsoon and the guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans intercepted it.
The boat was considered stateless because it operated in international waters without registration.
The route is often used to traffic weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, U.S. Central Command officials said.
“The illegal flow of weapons from Iran through international waterways has a destabilizing effect on the region,” Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.
The United Nations has prohibited weapons transfers to the Houthis since 2014, when Yemen’s civil war began. Iran has denied that it is arming them, although analysts have traced weapons seized aboard other vessels back to Tehran.
“We are committed to the security and stability of the region and the enforcement of international law,” Gen. Kurilla said. “Alongside our partner forces, CENTCOM will deter and interdict this kind of lethal material into the region whether it comes by air, land, or sea.”