Another showdown on the high seas?
White House and Pentagon officials said Tuesday the U.S. is monitoring an Iranian-flagged cargo ship headed in the direction of Yemen — coming just days after the U.S. tracked a suspected Iranian arms shipment in the region.
This time, the ship could be carrying little more than relief supplies to Yemeni citizens.
But Pentagon officials could not say Tuesday whether the ship might have weapons onboard. And both Pentagon and White House officials suggested that even if the ship is carrying only aid, such a shipment would be going outside the established United Nations process.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called such a move “provocative” on Iran’s part.
“We’re monitoring the shipment,” Earnest said, urging Iran to go through the U.N. to deliver any aid.
“Iran understands that they can’t afford to play games with humanitarian assistance to people who are in dire need,” Earnest said. “The Iranians know as well as anyone that a political stunt to defy their regional rivals outside the U.N. system is provocative and risks a collapse of the U.N.-led humanitarian cease-fire.”
Earnest was referring to a cease-fire in Saudi Arabia’s air campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen set to begin Tuesday.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren also said the Iranians claim the ship is carrying humanitarian aid, and if this is the case, “then we certainly encourage the Iranians to deliver that humanitarian aid to the United Nations humanitarian aid distribution hub,” located in Djibouti.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/12/pentagon-monitoring-another-iranian-cargo-ship-headed-toward-yemen/?intcmp=latestnews