The U.S. Navy on Tuesday dispatched an aircraft carrier to the waters around Yemen as a heightened response to Iran supplying Houthi rebels in their fight against the U.S.-backed Yemeni regime that is currently in hiding. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is meant to be a deterrent in the Gulf of Aden after the U.N. Security Council voted last week to impose an arms embargo on the Shiite rebel group.
“The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis,” according to the Associated Press. “Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels.”
The strategic positioning of military assets comes at a sensitive time in U.S.-Iran relations. The U.S. has provided logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led military campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. The U.S. and Iran are currently deep into delicate nuclear negotiations. A Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian has also been charged with espionage after nearly a year in detention.