Iran has deployed a “humanitarian aid” ship carrying 2,500 tons of unknown supplies to Yemen, setting up a situation where Tehran is attempting to openly defy a U.S. order not to dock its ships in the country’s ports.
State media outlet Mehr News reports that the ship left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port on Thursday and will make its way to “one of Yemen’s ports.” The ship will travel at least 1500 miles and should arrive in Yemen, without any delays, sometime on Monday.
Iran has threatened that blocking the ship from reaching its intended destination “will spark a war in the region.” The Pentagon has insisted that the ship dock in a United Nations port in Djibouti, where officials could then confirm whether the vessel was indeed carrying only humanitarian aid.
Iranian officials have claimed that the West has nothing to worry about and that the 2,500 tons of material are strictly for humanitarian purposes. “We have no political objective and our main task is humanitarian relief for civilians, women and children,” Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Secretary General Ali Asghar Ahmadi told state media.
But many in the West are skeptical of the Tehran regime’s intentions, largely because of its open support for Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen, who are attempting to usurp power in the country through force. In late March, an Iranian cargo ship reportedly dumped 180 tons of weapons and aid into the hands of the Houthi militants, according to reports.
U.S. officials told Fox News that the Iranians may be trying to stage a “stunt” and have loaded the ship with members of its state media. “Iran is begging for us to board the ship. This is all for show,” the official claimed.
The United States is backing a Saudi-led effort to restore the internationally-recognized government of Yemen back into power. Iran has continued to demand that the Saudis stop intervening in Yemen.