State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday that "the Israeli government interdicted a shipment of illicit Iranian arms."

"The White House directed the Department of Defense to monitor the vessel," Psaki said, adding that the US prepared to take "unilateral steps" to stop the shipment. Israel volunteered to handle the ship itself, she added.

The transfer of arms would amount to a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Psaki noted.

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