Iranian navy to accompany aid ship cruising to Yemen

Iranian naval forces to escort cargo ship carrying aid to Yemen where five-day of humanitarian ceasefire declared between belligerents of conflict

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Iranian security authorities announced on Tuesday that Iran’s navy will accompany an aid cargo ship heading to the Yemeni port of Hodeida which is controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias.

The cargo ship, named “Iran Shahed,” was said to be safeguarded by Iranian naval forces, according to the commander of the first zone of the Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Azad, who was quoted by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

“The 34th fleet of the navy, which is present in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el Mandeb Strait, provides special support for Iranian vessels carrying humanitarian aid,” Azad said.

The ship that left the Port of Shahid Rajaei in southern Iran on Monday is said to have been carrying humanitarian supplies to Yemen, where a five-day of ceasefire bagan on Tuesday.

Iranian navy includes the destroyer Alborz and logistic ship Bushehr, which are on a 90-day anti-piracy assignment in the region, will protect the aid cargo ship that was allegedly said to have been conveying food, medicine, tents and blankets, as well as reporters, rescue workers and peace activists, according to Iranian state television.  

Iran’s Fars news agency has reported that seven US and European activists were on board of the Iranian ship.

The US administration has raised concerns over the cargo ship and warned Tehran on a possible move which might further endanger the regional security in and around Yemen.

The US was already sailing six warships around the Gulf of Aden especially after the conflict erupted in Yemen.

The US denounced that it was cautiously following Iran’s activities both in the Hormuz and Gulf of Aden where the transportation of petroleum together with commercial maritime navigation raise geopolitical concerns between the parties.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren said the US was monitoring Iranian cargo ship which was escorted by the navy and added that it would not be helpful if Iran is "planning some sort of stunt."

Warren said there was no need of escorting to the cargo ship and stated that instead of Hodeida, the Iranian cargo ship should have been sent to Djibouti, where humanitarian efforts for Yemen are being coordinated by the United Nations.

Iranian naval forces that were patrolling in the Strait of Hormuz intercepted a  Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel owned by the US and that forced it further into the Iranian territorial water with firing a warning shot almost two weeks ago.

Iranian navy had confiscated the ship with its 34 crews in the overseas of the port city of Bandar Abbas.

The incident occurred in the wake of US-backed Saudi-led air strikes targeted Yemen’s Houthi militias in the past several weeks.

The Saudi-led operation, dubbed “Decisive Storm” started on March 26 and maintained throughout April.

Arab coalition has leaned its involvement with the claim of “defending the legitimate government” of the embattled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The operation has gained an international acceptance in the Western realm and among the Sunni Arab regional powers together with Turkey whereas Iran and Russia essentially objected such an intervention.

The Yemeni crisis further strained relations between Iran and the Arab Gulf states in which the US has taken side with the Saudi-led Arab coalition.

The aforementioned Saudi-led coalition accuses Iran of “irredentism” over Yemen through supporting the Houthi militias, hereby, spreading “aggressiveness” in the Gulf region.

The belligerents announced a five days of armistice on Friday and put into force on Tuesday.

TRTWorld and agencies