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Iran Threatens US Over Cargo Ship Bases

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh (Via Saeed Khatibzadeh/Twitter)

The ongoing tensions in the Middle East have reached a new level of intensity as Iran has issued a warning to the US against targeting two cargo ships, the Behshad and Saviz, which are suspected of serving as forwarding operating bases for Iranian commandos. This warning comes just days after the US, along with Britain, launched a massive air strike campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The strikes, which targeted underground missile arsenals, launch sites, and helicopters used by the rebels, are part of a larger retaliatory campaign against militias backed by the Islamic Republic.

According to the US, the attacks were a response to the killing of three US soldiers and wounding of dozens of others in Jordan, which was itself a retaliatory strike for Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The escalation of tensions across the wider Middle East has raised fears of a regional conflict breaking out. The US has threatened to take further action against the Houthi rebels if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels. Iran, on the other hand, has warned the US against targeting the cargo ships, claiming that they are “completely innocent” and are aiding an Iranian mission to “counteract piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden”.

The Behshad and Saviz, registered as commercial cargo ships with a Tehran-based company, have been loitering in the Red Sea off Yemen for years and have been suspected of serving as spy positions for Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. In 2017, Saudi Arabia described the Saviz as a maritime base and weapons transhipment point for the Guard, staffed by men in military fatigues. In a video statement released by Iran’s regular army, a narrator described the vessels as “floating armories” and claimed that they were aiding an Iranian mission to “counteract piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden”. However, Iran is not publicly known to have taken part in any recent campaigns against rising Somali piracy in the region.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh (Via Saeed Khatibzadeh/Twitter)

The situation is escalating rapidly, and it remains to be seen how the two sides will respond to the increasingly tense situation. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as saying that the US was making a “grave mistake” by targeting the cargo ships, which are “completely innocent”. The US, on the other hand, has made it clear that it will continue to respond to threats against its forces. The US Navy’s Middle East-based 5th Fleet has not commented on the Iranian warning.

The escalation of tensions in the region has raised fears of a regional conflict breaking out. The US has threatened to take further action against the Houthi rebels if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels. Iran, on the other hand, has warned the US against targeting the cargo ships, claiming that they are “completely innocent” and are aiding an Iranian mission to “counteract piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden”. The situation is complex and volatile, and it is unclear what will happen next. The key players involved, including Iran, the US, and the Houthi rebels, all have different goals and motivations, and it is uncertain how they will ultimately resolve their differences.

Iran’s warning comes as the country faces increasing pressure from the US and other Western powers over its nuclear program and alleged human rights abuses. The situation is rapidly escalating, and it remains to be seen how the two sides will respond to the increasingly tense situation. The key words that summarize this situation are Iran, US, cargo ships, Yemen, Houthi rebels, Middle East, Revolutionary Guard, Israel, and Hamas.

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