US Sends Seized Iranian Ammunition to Ukrainian Forces

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
October 5, 2023Middle East
US Sends Seized Iranian Ammunition to Ukrainian Forces
AK-style rifles sit on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, on Jan. 7, 2023. (U.S. Navy photo)

Over a million rounds of ammunition seized from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Gulf of Oman by the United States has been transferred to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced the transfer of ammunition that U.S. forces have seized from a vessel they believe was being operated at the behest of the IRGC.

“On Oct. 2, 2023, the U.S. government transferred approximately 1.1 million 7.62mm rounds to the Ukrainian armed forces,” said a statement by CENTCOM, which oversees U.S. military operations throughout the Middle East.

“The government obtained ownership of these munitions on July 20, 2023, through the Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture claims against [the IRGC],” the statement said.

“These munitions were originally seized by U.S. Central Command naval forces from the transiting stateless dhow MARWAN 1, Dec. 9, 2022. The munitions were being transferred from the IRGC to the Houthis in Yemen in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216.”

U.S. forces also reportedly collected about 25,000 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, around 7,000 proximity fuses for rockets, and over 2,100 kilograms of propellant for rocket-propelled grenades during the seizure.

“The U.S. is committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including U.S. and U.N. sanctions and through interdictions,” CENTCOM said.

Last November, U.S. forces operating in the Gulf of Oman reported seizing more than 70 tons of explosive precursors from a suspected Iranian shipment to the Houthi militants. In January, U.S. forces also reported seizing 2,116 AK-pattern rifles they suspected had been routed from Iran to Yemen.

Iran is suspected of supplying the Houthi forces with weapons to fight a coalition of Arab states in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has supported the Saudi coalition throughout the fighting.

U.S. military officials have alleged Iran is similarly assisting Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

US Divided on Ukraine Aid

Meanwhile, many Americans remain divided on the topic of continued support for Ukrainian forces.

A poll CNN conducted this summer found that 55 percent of Americans feel that the United States should not authorize additional funding to support Ukraine, while 45 percent supported additional Ukraine aid.

U.S. aid for Ukraine has also been a contentious point as lawmakers debate next year’s government budget. Several Republican lawmakers sought to block additional Ukraine-related aid in the 2024 budget.

Over the weekend, Congress passed a bill to temporarily fund the government and avoid a partial shutdown, known as a continuing resolution (CR), which did not include additional U.S. aid for Ukraine. The CR passed with a tentative agreement that lawmakers would vote on additional aid for Ukraine in a separate bill.

The CR is set to expire in mid-November, after which the U.S. government could see a partial shutdown if no further budget agreement is reached. The Department of Defense has already announced it would continue its efforts to assist Ukraine during a government shutdown.

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