The UK defense ministry revealed on Thursday that the British Royal Navy seized cruise missiles from an Iranian vessel earlier this year in waters south of Iran.

Royal Navy ship HMS Montrose seized dozens of packages containing advanced weaponry from speedboats being operated by smugglers in early 2022, during routine maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman, the British government statement said.

The seized packages were sent to the UK for technical analysis which later revealed that the shipment contained multiple rocket engines for the Iranian produced 351 land attack cruise missile and a batch of 358 surface-to-air missiles. 

The 351, a cruise missile with a range of 1,000km, is regularly used by the Houthis to strike targets in Saudi Arabia and was also used in the January attack on Abu Dhabi, which killed three civilians.

The United Kingdom’s Embassy in the United Arab Emirates described the seizure as “the first time a British naval warship has interdicted a vessel carrying such sophisticated weapons from Iran”, yet another proof of Tehran’s support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the war-torn country. 

Earlier in the month, the United Nations once again confirmed that missiles launched by Yeme’s Houthi militia at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the past two years were Iranian.

Noting that the UK will continue to work in support of an enduring peace in Yemen, Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said, “The UK is committed to upholding international law, from standing up to aggression in Europe to interdicting illegal shipments of weaponry that perpetuates instability in the Middle East.”

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