U.S. Sends 1M Rounds of Seized Iranian Ammo to Ukraine

October 4, 2023 5:08 PM
An arms shipment stateless dhow are seen aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey on May 8, 2021. US Navy Photo

The United States sent Ukraine approximately 1.1 million rounds of ammunition it seized from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in December, U.S. Central Command announced Wednesday.

The U.S. sent Ukraine the 1.1 million rounds of 7.62mm ammunition Monday, according to a CENTCOM news release. The U.S. has had the ammunition since July when it used the Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture claims to claim the seized ammunition.

In March, the U.S. filed a complaint for forfeiture of 1.063 million rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, 24,000 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition, 6,960 proximity fuses for rocket-propelled grenades and 2,000 kilograms of propellant for rocket-propelled grenades seized from stateless dhow Marwan I.

According to the complaint, filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia, a security team aboard USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB-3) intercepted Marwan I around Dec. 1. Although Marwan I was manned by Somali, Kenyan and Pakistani crew members, U.S. Central Command had information that the ship had been in waters off the coast of Iran and that the Iranian Navy boarded the vessel to load it with ammunition and explosives.

The Lewis B. Puller security team found a manifest, which listed the port of departure as Bandar Abbas, the headquarters for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, as well as a main base for the Iranian Navy, according to the complaint.

Based on the travel route of the ship, it is likely that the IRGCN planned to smuggle the ammunition and explosives to the Hothis in Yemen, according to the complaint.

“This significant interdiction clearly shows that Iran’s unlawful transfer of lethal aid and destabilizing behavior continues . . . [sic] U.S. naval forces remain focused on deterring and disrupting dangerous and irresponsible maritime activity in the region,” reads the complaint.

The transfer of ammunition and explosives from the IRGCN to the Hothis violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, according to the CENTCOM release.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox