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UK links interdicted weapons shipment to Iran's IRGC

A photograph released by the UK Ministry of Defence on 7 July 2022 shows the weapons found by HMS Montrose when it searched vessels off southern Iran on 28 January 2022 and 25 February 2022. A 358 SAM is laid out at the front and engines for 351 cruise missiles can be seen at the back right. (Crown Copyright)

Data from a commercial quadcopter has established a direct link between a weapons shipment seized by the UK Royal Navy (RN) and Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the British government announced on 13 February.

The quadcopter was found with a shipment of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and components for 351 land-attack cruise missiles that were found when HMS Montrose searched a suspected smuggling vessel in international waters south of Iran in early 2022.

The decrypted data from its controller included “records of 22 test flights conducted at the IRGC Aerospace Force headquarters and test facility in western Tehran”, the statement said.

“This evidence indicated a direct link between the Iranian state and the smuggling of missile systems being used by the Houthis to attack the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” said Tariq Ahmad, minister of state for the Middle East, using the popular name for the Iranian-backed Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah.

The statement added that the evidence was passed to the United Nations (UN) representatives who monitor the Iranian nuclear deal under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 and the arms embargo imposed on Yemen under UNSCR 2401.

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