US Navy Intercepts Shipment of Explosives from Iran

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs announced that the U.S. 5th Fleet intercepted the shipment of explosive material located in the Gulf of Oman.

MANAMA, Bahrain – On November 8, U.S. 5th Fleet intercepted a fishing boat located in the Gulf of Oman smuggling lethal aid, including a massive amount of explosive material coming from Iran into Yemen.

U.S. Coast Guard ship USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) and the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) stopped the vessel while it traveled through international waters. Coast guard patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC 3) and Navy explosive ordnance disposal experts from the U.S. 5th Fleet's Task Force 56 also participated in the course of a week-long effort to thoroughly examine the vessel and determine the kind of material that was found.

It wasn't a small amount either. According to CENTCOM, the find contained more than 70 tons of ammonium perchlorate along with 100 tons of Urea fertilizer.

Ammonium perchlorate can be described as “a powerful oxidizer commonly used to make rocket and missile fuel as well as explosives.” Urea is often employed in explosives.

After the seizure, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said:

“This was a large quantity of explosive material enough to power more than 12 medium-range ballistic missiles depending on their size. The illegal transfer of deadly aid from Iran will not go by unnoticed. It's reckless, risky and causes instability and violence across all of the Middle East.”

Additional information on the AP:

“The Navy confirmed that the amount of ammonium perchlorate found could power more than 12 ballistic missiles of medium range. These are the same missiles that Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have employed to strike both forces that are affiliated to the internationally recognized government as well as the Saudi-led alliance that backs the rebels.”

The apparent resurgence is happening amid reports that Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia, the United States, as well as other nations during the month-long protests calling for the overthrow of the Islamist regime's theocracy. Tehran accuses foreign powers, not its own angry population, for provoking the protests that have resulted in at least 344 dead and 15,820 people detained in an increasing crackdown on dissidents in the country.

Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander added:

“Alongside our partner forces, CENTCOM is committed to the security and stability of the region and to deterring the illegal and destabilizing flow of lethal material into the region over land, in the air, and the sea.”

According to CNN, “The vessel was sunk on November 13 in the Gulf of Oman after US forces determined the vessel was a hazard to navigation for commercial shipping.”

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