CENTCOM Forces Intercept More Than 2,000 Assault Rifles Shipped from Iran

January 10, 2023

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

TAMPA, Fla. - On Jan. 6, U.S. Central Command forces intercepted a stateless dhow in the Gulf of Oman smuggling more than 2,000 AK-47 assault rifles while transiting international waters from Iran to Yemen.

The vessel was sailing on a route historically used to traffic weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. A team from the USS Chinook patrol coastal ship boarded the vessel with support from the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Monsoon and the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans.

“The illegal flow of weapons through international waterways has a destabilizing effect on the region,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, CENTCOM commander.

“We are committed to the security and stability of the region and the enforcement of international law,” Kurilla continued. “Alongside our partner forces, CENTCOM will deter and interdict this kind of lethal material into the region whether it comes by air, land, or sea.”

“This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces. “These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that threatens freedom or compromises regional security.”