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Mentioned Suspect Entities & Suppliers:
The United States and its allies have interdicted five separate weapons shipments from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen since April 2015—shipments that violate U. N. Security Council resolutions. According to U.S. Vice Admiral Kevin Donergan, “We know they came from Iran and we know the destination.” The U.S. State Department has also criticized Iranian arms smuggling to Yemen, including the provision of missiles to the Houthis.
This lethal aid violates an arms embargo that was imposed as part of U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 implementing the nuclear agreement with Iran and the resolutions it replaced. It also violates U.N. Security Council resolution 2216, adopted in April 2015, which imposes an arms embargo against the leadership of the Houthi rebels. However, no action has been taken at the United Nations to punish these violations. In a little noticed report released this summer, the Secretary General raised concern over one Iranian arms shipment interdicted by the United States but concluded only that the U.N. was "still reviewing the information provided by the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran" and that he would "provide an update on this arms seizure to the Security Council in due course." 
Despite the interdictions, some Iranian arms shipments are clearly making it into Yemen. The U.S. State Department has publicly linked Iran to the ballistic missiles used by the Houthis to strike targets in Saudi Arabia. Last month, Saudi officials reported two separate interceptions of ballistic missiles launched from Yemen: one near the city of Taif on October 10, the other near the city of Mecca on October 28. In an October 11 press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby stated, “In the Saudis’ case, their cities, their citizens are under very real, darn-near daily threat from missiles being launched on the Yemeni side of their border, missiles that are provided by Iran to the Houthi rebels.” Another State Department official later told IHS Jane’s that “Iran has provided critical capability and assistance to the Houthis in their campaign to attack Saudi Arabian territory with ballistic missiles and rockets.” 
The two failed attacks on U.S. Navy ships last month by cruise missiles launched from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen have also grabbed headlines, though the Pentagon has not yet officially commented on the type or origin of these missiles. Some naval analysts believe that the most likely missile used by the Houthis in this attack is the Noor, an Iranian variant of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship cruise missile. Iran has officially denied involvement in the failed missile attacks on the U.S. ships, with a foreign ministry spokesperson saying, “The vague and contradictory remarks by American officials these past days are false, paranoid and inappropriate.”
The following is a description of four Iranian arms shipments destined for the Houthis in Yemen and interdicted by U.S. or allied forces since September 2015.
September 2015: According to a U.N. Panel of Experts on Yemen, U.S. and Australian navy ships stopped the Nassir off the coast of Oman and seized the weapons onboard, including 56 TOW anti-tank guided missiles, 4 TOW optical sights, 4 TOW tripod mounts, 4 TOW launch tubes, 2 TOW battery sets, 2 TOW launch assembly units, 3 TOW missile guidance systems, 14 TOW battery assemblies, and 19 9M113 AT Konkurs. After examining the weapons, the U.N. Panel noted that the equipment bore “the markings bearing the names of Iranian industrial companies” and that the “Konkurs missiles had markings with characteristics similar to Russian and Iranian markings, indicating that they were likely to have been maintained or overhauled in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Photos from the Panel's report reveal the stamps of Iran Electronics Industries (IEI) and Shiraz Electronics Industries, both of which are Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) subsidiaries and still subject to U.S. and EU sanctions. The Panel also registered the presence of instructions written in Persian for the TOW system.
February 2016:  Australia’s HMAS Darwin intercepted a small fishing vessel 170 nautical miles off the coast of Oman and discovered some 2,000 AK-47s, 100 RPGs, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels, and 20 60mm mortar tubes onboard. The U.S. Navy has assessed that the arms originated in Iran, and U.S. military sources say the shipment was likely intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Jane’s reports that the seized RPGs had green heat-resistant covers, a feature most often seen on RPG-7s manufactured by Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO), an entity subject to U.N. sanctions. One of the photos included in the report also shows that some of the machine guns found were North Korean Type 73s. This weapon is only in use by the North Korean and Iranian militaries, according to Jane's.
March 20, 2016: A helicopter operating with the French Navy's frigate Provence encountered a suspicious dhow off the coast of the Yemeni island of Socotra. French forces boarded the craft and found a cache of arms hidden under fishing nets. The U.S. Navy later confirmed the find to include almost 2,000 Ak-47s, 64 Dragunov sniper rifles, 9 anti-tank missiles, and other equipment. An analysis by Jane’s again notes the presence of Type 73 machine guns in one of the photos provided by the French Ministry of Defense.
March 28, 2016: Two U.S. Navy ships encountered and boarded a dhow transiting international waters near the Gulf of Oman and discovered a large weapons cache onboard, including 1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG-7 and RG-7V Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers (RPGs), and 21 DshK 12.7mm machine guns. After interviewing members of the crew and analyzing the seized arms, U.S. authorities concluded the weapons had originated in Iran and were most likely bound for Yemen. Iran has denied the allegation and claims it “has never engaged in such delivery.”
Despite mounting public evidence of continued Iranian arms transfers to Yemen in violation of two U.N. Security Council resolutions, little appears to have been done at the United Nations. In a July 25 report, the U.N. official in charge of overseeing implementation of U.N. resolution 2231 stated that he “look[ed] forward to a formal reply in due course” from Iran about the report of the March 28 arms seizure. However, no formal action has been taken. The other confirmed interdictions have not been raised publicly at the United Nations.
Under prior U.N. resolutions, a dedicated U.N. panel of experts was charged with monitoring the implementation of sanctions against Iran. This independent panel investigated possible violations and proposed sanctions designations in response. It played a valuable role in scrutinizing and publicizing a number of illicit Iranian arms exports. Unfortunately, in response to Iranian demands, the U.N. panel on Iran was dissolved when the nuclear agreement took effect at the beginning of this year. Now, it appears, officially documented reports of repeated Iranian violations face a dead-end diplomatic process at the United Nations, in which the absence of consensus among Security Council members stalls any action.
1 Courtney Kube, “U.S. Officials: Iran Supplying Weapons to Yemen's Houthi Rebels,” NBC News, October 27, 2016, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-iran-supplying-weapons-yemen-s-houthi-rebels-n674181
2 Daily Press Briefing, U.S. Department of State, October 11, 2016, available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2016/10/263001.htm; Daily Press Briefing, U.S. Department of State, October 24, 2016, available at http://www.iranwatch.org/library/governments/united-states/executive-branch/department-state/state-department-spokesperson-john-kirby-comments-irans-supply-weapons-houthis
3 “Resolution 2231,” United Nations, S/RES/2231 (2015), Annex B paragraph 5.
4 “Resolution 2216,” United Nations, S/RES/2216 (2015), paragraph 14
5 “Report of the Secretary General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Section I paragraph 9.
6 Jeremy Binnie, “Saudi coalition confirms longest-range Yemeni ballistic missile attack to date,” Jane’s Defenec Weekly, October 11, 2016, available via Jane’s Information Group (www.janes.com); “Yemen’s Houthis Launch Missile Toward Saudi Holy City,” Reuters, October 28, 2016, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-missiles-idUSKCN12S016
7 Daily Press Briefing, U.S. Department of State, October 11, 2016, available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2016/10/263001.htm
8 Jeremy Binnie, “Analysis: US spokesman says Iran supplying missiles to Yemen,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 13, 2016.
9 Dan Lamothe, “Navy launches Tomahawk missiles at rebel sites in Yemen after attacks on U.S. ships,” Washington Post, October 12, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/10/12/more-missiles-fired-from-rebel-held-territory-in-yemen-at-u-s-navy-ships/
10 Megan Eckstein and Sam LaGrone, “Admiral: Attacks Like Those on USS Mason Will Become More Common,” USNI News, October 27, 2016, available at https://news.usni.org/2016/10/27/22246; Sam LaGrone, “Destroyer USS Mason Unsuccessfully Attacked from Yemen,” USNI, October 10, 2016, https://news.usni.org/2016/10/10/destroyer-uss-mason-attacked-yemen
11 “Iran denies role in attacks on US navy from Yemen,” AFP via Al-Monitor, October 20, 2016, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2016/10/yemen-conflict-iran-us.html
12 “Letter dated 22 January 2016 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014) addressed to the President of the Security Council,” United Nations, S/2016/73, Annex 12.
13 “Letter dated 22 January 2016 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014) addressed to the President of the Security Council,” United Nations, S/2016/73, Section III paragraph 82.
14 “Letter dated 22 January 2016 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014) addressed to the President of the Security Council,” United Nations, S/2016/73, Annex 13.
15 “Letter dated 22 January 2016 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014) addressed to the President of the Security Council,” United Nations, S/2016/73, Annex 13.
16 “Third Illicit Arms Shipment in Recent Weeks Seized in Arabian Sea,” United States Navy, NNS160404-01, April 4, 2016, available at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=93990, accessed on September 23, 2016.
17 “HMS Darwin Seizes Large Weapons Cache,” Combined Maritime Forces, March 6, 2016, available at https://combinedmaritimeforces.com/2016/03/06/hmas-darwin-seizes-large-weapons-cache/, accessed September 23, 2016.
18 “Third Illicit Arms Shipment in Recent Weeks Seized in Arabian Sea,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs, April 4, 2016, http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=93990; Joshua Berlinger, “French seize weapons cache in Indian Ocean that may have come from Iran,” CNN, March 30, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/30/middleeast/weapons-seizure-indian-ocean/
19 Jens Kastner,“Combined Maritime Forces seize weapons shipment off Oman,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, July 3, 2016, available via Jane’s Information Group (www.janes.com).
20 Jeremy Binnie, “US Navy seizes another Iranian weapons shipment in Arabian Sea,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 4, 2016, available via Jane’s Information Group (www.janes.com).
21 “Combined Task Force 150: the frigate Provence carries out an important arms seizure off the coast of Somalia,” French Ministry of Defense, March 24, 2016, available (in French) at http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operations/autres-operations/ocean-indien/ctf-150-la-fregate-provence-realise-une-importante-saisie-d-armes-au-large-de-la-somalie, accessed September 23, 2016.
22 “Third Illicit Arms Shipment in Recent Weeks Seized in Arabian Sea,” United States Navy, NNS160404-01, April 4, 2016, available at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=93990, accessed on September 23, 2016.
23 Jeremy Binnie, “Analysis: Third Arabian Sea arms shipment seized in six months,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, March 30, 2016, available via Jane’s Information Group (www.janes.com).
24 “Report of the Secretary General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Annex II “Report dated 7 June 2016 from the United States of America regarding the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2231 (2015) and 2216 (2015).
25 “Report of the Secretary General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015),” United Nations, S/2016/589, Annex I paragraph 3.1.
26 “Letter dated 25 July 2016 from the Security Council Facilitator for the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015), United Nations, S/2016/649, paragraph 24.