US sends seized Iranian 7.62mm ammunition to Ukraine


According to information published by the US DoD on October 6, 2023, the U.S. government has handed over approximately 1.1 million 7.62mm rounds to the Ukrainian armed forces.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 7.62 mm ammunition. (Picture source: US DoD)


The chain of custody for these munitions traces back to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Investigations revealed that the IRGC was transferring the munitions to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Following the seizure, on July 20, 2023, the Department of Justice finalized the civil forfeiture claims against the IRGC, allowing the U.S. government to assume ownership of the ammo.

Context

Before 2022, the U.S. Navy and its allies intercepted several shipments believed to originate from Iran in the Arabian Sea and surrounding waters, containing weapons and ammunition intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In November 2019, the U.S. Navy seized weapons aboard a ship, including anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air missiles. In February 2020, the USS Normandy discovered a large cache of weapons on a dhow in the Arabian Sea, which included 358 surface-to-air missiles, 150 anti-tank missiles, and other arms, all believed to be of Iranian origin.

Throughout 2021, there were multiple interceptions by the U.S. Navy, seizing weapons believed to be sent from Iran, including advanced missile systems, rifles, and ammunition.