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U.S. urges Venezuela to turn away Iranian military ships

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UPI News
UPI News
 13 days ago
The U.S. warned Venezuela that two Iranian military vessels traveling to Venezuela may be carrying arms, more than a week after another Iranian navy ship, Kharg, sank on June 1. Photo by Iran State TV/EPA-EFE

June 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. urged Venezuela on Thursday to turn away two Iranian navy ships crossing the Atlantic, claiming the ships may carry arms intended for transfer to Caracas.

A senior Biden administration official told Politico that the ships are thought to be carrying weapons to fulfill an arms deal that Iran and Venezuela made a year ago under the Trump administration.

The ships have traveled a significant distance across the Atlantic Ocean, and the Biden administration vows that the U.S. will take "appropriate measures" to deter what is seen as a "threat" to America's partners in the Western Hemisphere.

The administration official didn't specify what types of weapons are involved.

Last summer, there were reports that Venezuela was considering purchasing missiles from Iran including long-range missiles.

Satellite imagery of one of the ships, Makran, showed seven fast-attack boats on its deck prior to its journey.

"The delivery of such weapons would be a provocative act and understood as a threat to our partners in the Western Hemisphere," the senior administration official said in a statement to Politico.

Deputy Chief of the Iranian Army said that Makran and the Sahand Destroyer shows the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The news about the ships comes two days after the Kharg, one of Iran's largest and most important naval ships, sank after suffering a major fire.

Unconfirmed claims that the Makran would continue the Kharg's mission circulated social media. The Kharg purportedly was to bring Iranian military personnel to Russia.

Iran announced multiple planned naval missions to Venezuela in the past.

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