US officials: Iranian ships changing course away from Venezuela
Iranian ships that were believed to be on course for Venezuela to deliver weapons have changed course, U.S. officials told Politico.
The defense official speculates that ships could be headed toward the Mediterranean to Syria, or to Russia.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said he has seen Politico’s report, but will not speculate on the destination of the ships.
The U.S. officials told the news outlet that change in plans could a result of the Biden administration urging Venezuela to turn away the ships.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week he was “concerned” about the ships that were believed to be carrying weapons to Venezuela.
“The precedent of allowing Iran to provide weapons to the region causes me great concern,” Austin said.
The two ships, destroyer Sahand and intelligence-gathering vessel Makran, were celebrated by Iran when they reached the Atlantic Ocean. The government said the voyage showed Iran’s increased military capabilities.
However, the country did not specify the destination of the ships.
Price said the U.S. is ready to apply sanctions and other actions against those who engage in a weapons exchange with Iran.
The comes as the U.S. and Iran are renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal after former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of it during his tenure.