Pentagon: Iran moves ships, reducing tensions near Yemen

By REUTERS
April 24, 2015 21:15
1 minute read.

A flotilla of nine Iranian military and cargo ships that US officials feared was carrying arms to strife-torn Yemen sailed northeast in the direction of Iran on Friday, a move the Pentagon said helped to ease US concerns.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the flotilla was in international waters about midway along the coast of Oman on Friday and still headed northeast.

He declined to say the ships were going back to Iran or headed toward Iran. Warren said the US military did not know their intent and the vessels could turn around at any point.

But Warren did say the shift had helped to ease Washington's concerns.

"I think it's fair to say that this appears to be a de-escalation some of the tensions that were being discussed earlier in the week," Warren said.

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the US government had warned Iran not to send weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic in the Gulf.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday the United States was concerned the ships might be carrying advanced weapons to Houthi rebels there.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday the ships, which were in international waters near the frontier between Oman and Yemen, had turned away from Yemen.


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