The US Government donated 1.1 million 7.62mm rounds previously seized from Iran to the Ukrainian military, according to US Central Command.
Details about the seizure from Iran
In December 2022, US Central Command naval forces confiscated the cartridges on the Marwan 1 vessel. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly transferred such ammunition to Houthi militants in Yemen.
The transfer violated the 2015 UN Security Council resolution 2216, establishing an arms embargo on Yemeni rebels. The munitions became US property in July following a Justice Department lawsuit against the IRGC.
US naval operations have repeatedly intercepted weapons coming from Iran. These are usually transported on fishing boats to supply Iranian-backed groups in Yemen.
The Iranian context and arms smuggling
Iran‘s support for armed groups compromises security at the international and regional levels. The country has been accused of threatening forces, diplomatic personnel and citizens of both the United States and allied nations. Therefore, the US is committed to stopping Iran’s destabilizing activities.
Over the years, U.S. naval forces have intercepted unflagged vessels carrying smuggled Iranian weapons. Surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, unmanned aircraft, and materials for producing explosives are among the seizures.
Implications for Ukraine and the international situation
The seized ammunition does not seem to greatly impact the Ukrainian war scenario, where demands for defense systems and long-range weapons predominate. Likewise, the transfer does not appear to alleviate concerns about the flow of Western weapons to Kyiv.
Despite recent actions, the US Congress did not approve new funds for Ukraine. This decision highlights the reluctance of certain Republican sectors to finance Kyiv. Additionally, the British Royal Navy has also seized Iranian weapons in international waters.
In the broader context, the Houthi movement in Yemen has been facing a coalition led by Saudi Arabia for years. The war has had devastating consequences, and the United States has urged Saudi Arabia to end the conflict.