The Pentagon has stated that a U.S. aircraft carrier is “repositioning” for a security operation, contrary to prior reports that the warship was tasked with intercepting an Iranian fleet off the coast of Yemen.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt is “repositioning to conduct maritime security operations,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told VOA.
Earlier, an unnamed Navy official told the AP that the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier is part of an American fleet that has been tasked with intercepting Iranian vessels that may attempt to dump an arms shipment into the hands of Houthi militants in Yemen.
Navy officials announced on Monday that the nuclear-powered Roosevelt was among nine U.S. warships that are patrolling the waters of the Arabian Sea. The unnamed Navy spokesperson told the Associated Press that the ships are moving into the Gulf of Aden to intercept Iran’s eight-ship convoy before it can link up with the Houthis.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest refused to comment specifically on any Navy movements, telling reporters that the U.S. is concerned with the Shiite regime’s “continued support for the Houthis.”
“We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other armed support to the Houthis in Yemen. That support will only contribute to greater violence in that country. These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East,” Earnest added.
The White House Press Secretary told reporters that “the Iranians are acutely aware of our concerns for their continued support of the Houthis by sending them large shipments of weapons.”
Iran continues to support Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen, who have overthrown the country’s internationally-recognized government and now hold vast swaths of territory throughout the nation. The United States has backed a nine-country Saudi-led military operation that seeks to reinstall the recognized Yemeni government and its Sunni leadership.