An Iranian cargo vessel, carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian supplies to war-torn Yemen, has now entered the Gulf of Aden.
A Press TV correspondent on board the ship reported on Sunday that the vessel is currently sailing through a very busy international corridor, which is internationally protected against piracy.
The ship, dubbed Nejat (Rescue), is scheduled to arrive in the western Yemeni port city of Hodeida on May 21.
It set sail from Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on May 11.
International activists, volunteer doctors and media personnel are also on board the ship. Iran has coordinated the mission of the ship with the United Nations.
Riyadh has blocked earlier Iranian aid deliveries to Yemen. Last month, it prevented two Iranian civilian planes from delivering medical aid and foodstuff to the impoverished people.
The ship’s mission has been overshadowed by US calls for it to head to a UN emergency relief hub in Djibouti instead of docking in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.
President Obama on Tuesday warned Iran not to deliver weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying it would be a “problem” if an arms exchange occurred.
“What we’ve said to them is that if there are weapons delivered to factions within Yemen that could threaten navigation, that’s a problem,” Obama said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “We’re not sending them obscure messages; we send them very direct messages about it.”
The U.S. Navy deployed an aircraft carrier to Yemen, where a flotilla of nine Iranian ships is sailing, potentially to provide arms to the Houthi rebels. Administration officials have downplayed the carrier’s role, saying it is there to maintain freedom of navigation.
The president encouraged the rebels and pro-government factions to end the conflict and come to a political agreement.
“It is not solved by having another proxy war fought inside of Yemen and you know, we’re indicated to the Iranians that they need to be part of the solution, not a part of the problem,” he said.