A fleet of nine Iranian ships off the coast of Yemen believed to be carrying weapons bound for Shi’a Muslim Houthi rebels turned around on Thursday.
The ships, which included seven freighters and two frigates, were purportedly headed back in the direction of Iran.
“They turned around before they crossed the line extending from the Yemen/Oman border,” a Pentagon official told Fox News.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Navy announced that the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and its escort ship, the U.S.S. Normandy guided-missile cruiser, would join several other U.S. vessels to form a blockade around Yemenite waters. The U.S. mission was in support of a Saudi-led coalition that was launching airstrikes on the Houthi rebels.
Meanwhile, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met in Vienna on Thursday as part of the latest effort to secure a final nuclear deal by the June 30 deadline, Reuters reported. Foreign officials from the P5+1 nations and Iran are expected to meet this weekend, with Secretary of State John Kerry joining negotiations next week.
Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Hamid Baidinejad, said that the “drafting of the final deal has started,” according to Iranian state television.