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US supplies Ukraine with over million rounds of Iranian ammo confiscated last year

The US supplied Ukraine with Iranian ammo attributed to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, confiscated in the Gulf as it was transferred to Yemeni Houthi forces in violation of a UN arms embargo.
US supplies Ukraine with over million rounds of Iranian ammo confiscated last year

The United States has already supplied Ukraine with over a million rounds of Iranian-made ammunition confiscated in the Gulf late last year, The Guardian reports. The transfer was conducted on 2 October, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a press release, according to CNN.

The ordnance transfer took place after a civil forfeiture case, pursued by the US Justice Department to gain ownership of the ammunition on the basis that the bullets had been confiscated while being illicitly transported to Yemeni Houthi forces, thereby violating a UN arms embargo.

Officials: US to transfer weapons seized from Iran to Ukraine

On December 9, 2022, naval vessels belonging to the US Central Command confiscated 1.1 million 7.62mm rounds from the stateless dhow, Marwan 1. Additionally, among the cargo, thousands of proximity fuses for rocket-propelled grenades were seized.

“The [US] government obtained ownership of these munitions on July 20, 2023, through the Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture claims against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” the CENTCOM statement says.

The US Biden administration has spent several months deliberating the legal means to transport the confiscated weapons, currently held in CENTCOM facilities throughout the Middle East, to Ukraine, according to CNN.

“With this weapons transfer, the justice department’s forfeiture actions against one authoritarian regime are now directly supporting the Ukrainian people’s fight against another authoritarian regime,” the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, said on 4 October according to The Guardian, adding: “We will continue to use every legal authority at our disposal to support Ukraine in their fight for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

Over the past year, the US Navy, often in collaboration with regional partner forces, seized thousands of Iranian assault rifles and more than one million rounds of ammunition from vessels that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard used to transport weapons to Yemen, primarily for the Houthi rebels in the Yemeni civil war. 

According to the Department of Justice, it also claims forfeiture of confiscated weapons from other seized caches, including 9,000 assault rifles, 284 machine guns, about 194 rocket launchers, and more than 70 anti-tank guided missiles.

Iran and Russia have established a de facto defense partnership, with Iran providing explosive and reconnaissance drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine, while Russia collaborating with Iran on missile and air defense manufacturing. Russia is dependent on Iranian drone supplies to carry out almost daily attacks on Ukrainian civilian and military infrastructure far behind the frontlines. Meanwhile, Russia reportedly was going to supply Iran with a full squadron of 24 advanced Sukhoy Su-35 multirole fighter jets.

This transfer of seized Iranian weaponry to Ukraine occurs amidst worries by Ukraine’s Western allies about their ability to further arm Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing war of attrition.

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