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You detain 10 of our sailors, we’ll take a boatload of arms:
The crew of a U.S. Navy ship stopped a massive Iranian arms shipment dead in its tracks, seizing thousands of weapons, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers that likely were headed to Yemen, the Pentagon announced Monday.
The seizure, which unfolded in the Arabian Sea on March 28, was the third of its kind in recent weeks, military officials say. Iran has been supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen in their proxy war against a Saudi-led coalition backed by the United States. Like Iran, the Houthis are a Shia-led group.
The arms shipment appears to mark the latest provocative action from the defiant Islamic republic, which reported last month that it tested missiles marked with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out.” And on Monday, the Iranian government warned the U.S. to butt out of trying to control its missile program. “The White House should know that defense capacities and missile power, specially at the present juncture where plots and threats are galore, is among the Iranian nation’s red lines… and we don’t allow anyone to violate it,” Deputy Chief of Staff Brig-Gen Maassoud Jazzayeri told state media.
On Friday, President Obama said Iran was obeying the “letter” of its landmark nuclear agreement with the West, but not the “spirit” of it.
According to the Navy, the shipment included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns.