Tehran (diplomat.so) - Iran has cautioned the United States against targeting a vessel that officials claim is crucial for providing intelligence support to the Houthis, enabling their ongoing attacks in the Red Sea region.
The Iran-backed proxy group, which asserts its attacks as backing for Palestine, has been utilizing drones and missiles to target commercial vessels, compelling shippers to alter routes and take longer passages around the southern tip of Africa.
This series of attacks has prompted retaliatory strikes from the US and UK, who launched another round of bombings on Iran-backed proxy groups in Yemen over the weekend.
In a stern message shared on the Iranian army's Telegram channel on Sunday, a warning was issued against any actions that could endanger the MV Behshad or similar vessels, emphasizing the importance of international maritime routes and security.
The video highlighted Behshad as a "floating armoury" involved in anti-piracy missions in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, although Iran's participation in recent anti-piracy efforts in the region remains unverified.
The vessel, registered as a commercial cargo ship under the Tehran-based firm Rahbaran Omid Darya Ship Management Company, has faced US sanctions over suspicions of its association with the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
Sources revealed that the ship allegedly provides intelligence to the Houthis, aiding them in identifying and targeting vessels in the Red Sea.
Although the US Defense Department press secretary claimed unawareness of any targeting of the Behshad, the commander of the Dwight D Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group confirmed suspicions of Iran providing intelligence to the Houthis for targeting cargo vessels.
Analysts suggest that the Behshad and its counterpart Safiz serve as transshipment points for Iranian weapons and are equipped with electronic intelligence tools to assist the Houthis in targeting vessels.
Recent shipping tracking data indicates the Behshad's presence in the Red Sea region since January 2023, with movements suggesting monitoring of traffic passing through the area.
Concerns regarding the vessel's activities have been raised, with analysts noting its proximity to Houthi-targeted areas and its potential as a target for future US military action.