- REUTERS/Fars News/Hamed Jafarnejad
Iran sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden on Thursday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, establishing a military presence in waters off Yemen where the US military launched cruise missile strikes on areas controlled by Iran-backed Houthi forces.
“Iran’s Alvand and Bushehr warships have been dispatched to the Gulf of Aden to protect trade vessels from piracy,” Tasnim reported.
The US military strikes were in response to failed missile attacks this week on a US Navy destroyer, US officials said.
Iranian naval vessels have made a habit of repeatedly harassing US Navy vessels in the Persian gulf. Experts who spoke to Business Insider have indicated that Iran provides weapons and training to the Houthi militants who control the Western coast of Yemen.
Tasnim said the Iranian ships will patrol the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen, which is one of the world’s most important shipping routes.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of Gulf states that are currently blockading Yemen as the Houthi uprising seeks to overthrow the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi.
The US Navy has two guided missile destroyers, the USS Nitze and the USS Mason, and an amphibious transport ship, the USS Ponce, off the coast of Yemen.