London- Following a series of statements from the Arab Coalition and the United States, international confirmations on Iran arming Houthis in Yemen have been made.
This time, confirmations were given through a British institution as international investigators confirmed in a report released on Tuesday the presence of an arms route between Iran and Houthi rebels.
The report released by British-based Conflict Armament Research (Car) found that weapons seized from Iranian-made dhows by Australian and French warships in the Arabian Sea matched to arms captured from Houthis in Yemen.
The lot number of a Russian Kornet missile matched those of the same type found on the dhow intercepted by the French FS Provence ship in March 2016, and the serial numbers of both were “within the same sequence,” the report stated.
Iran denied U.S. and Gulf accusations that it sends weapons to the Houthi rebels, and officials in Tehran said they only provide diplomatic support.
Analysis of the caches of anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers and other light weapons and small arms from the dhows that were bound for ports in Somalia, suggests they were “probably supplied with the complicity of Iranian security forces,” Car said.
The presence of similar weapons in Yemen with the same lot numbers and serial sequences “supports the assertion that material on board the dhows was ultimately destined for Yemen, and likewise, that the material recovered in Yemen probably originated in Iran,” said the report.
Stowed on the same dhow were also 2,000 new condition AKM-pattern assault rifles with sequential serial numbers, “which suggests that the rifles derived from a national stockpile, rather than disparate non-state sources.”
Light machine guns found on both dhows had the same serial number sequences, “which suggests that the materiel derived from the same original consignment,” the report added.
The Australian HMAS Darwin seized more than 2,000 weapons, including assault rifles and 100 Iranian-made rocket launchers. The French seizure included more than 2,000 assault rifles, 64 new Hoshdar-M Iranian-made sniper rifles and nine Russian-made anti-tank missiles.
The two ships, along with the U.S.S. Sirocco, are part of an international naval coalition that patrols the strategically important waters between Yemen and the Horn of Africa.
Photos of the intercepted dhows provided to Car – which is primarily funded by the European Union and tracks illicit weapons flows for the U.N. and government clients – showed they were manufactured by Al Mansoor, a shipbuilder in Iran located next to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps base, the report said.
The “weapon pipeline” outlined by the report flows from Iran to a number of small transshipment ports in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of the Somali coast, on the tip of the Horn of Africa.