Yemen Urges UN Probe Into Seized Iranian Arms-Laden Ship

Yemen has asked the UN Security Council to investigate a ship that Yemeni authorities said they seized with a cargo of Iranian-made missiles, rockets and other weapons, the UN envoy to the country said Thursday, February 8, according to AP.

Security Council members are discussing Yemen’s request, Jamal Benomar told reporters Thursday after Security Council consultations on Yemen’s political transition.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that Yemeni authorities seized an Iranian ship last month carrying material for bombs and suicide belts, explosives, Katyusha rockets, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and large amounts of ammunition.

Yemeni President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi sent a message to his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, last week calling on him to stop sending arms to Yemen and quit supporting a southern separatist movement, according to an official in the Yemeni president’s office, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Yemen recently has witnessed several cases of illegal arms shipments through its porous shores and also is home to an active branch of al-Qaida, which staged several failed or foiled attacks on U.S. territory.

Yemen has been struggling with a transition to democracy since Arab Spring protests a year ago forced Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 33 years as president. Saleh, who was allowed to remain in Yemen under the power-transfer deal, has been blamed by many over the past year for using loyalists and relatives in powerful posts to stall reform efforts.

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