Iranian officials warned the U.S. on Sunday about possibly targeting two cargo ships in the Middle East that are suspected of being spy ships for the country.
The warning was issued after forces from the U.S. and U.K. launched an airstrike offensive against Houthi rebels located in Yemen.
The Associated Press reported that the statement from Iran referred to the Behshad and Saviz ships, which are both registered commercial cargo ships with a company based in Tehran, which the U.S. Treasury sanctioned as a front for the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
The statement also appeared to show Tehran’s increasing uneasiness with the U.S. strike in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, which targeted militias backed by the Islamic Republic.
The attacks ordered by President Biden were in response to the killing of three U.S. soldiers and the wounding of dozens of others in Jordan. Attacks on U.S. troops and facilities in the Middle East have also increased since the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip intensified after Hamas’ invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.
The U.S. continues to claim it is not looking for a war in the Middle East and is there to ensure the war between Hamas and Israel does not spread across the region.
U.S. and coalition forces launched more than two dozen strikes on Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Saturday, targeting 13 locations with deeply buried storage facilities, missile systems, launchers, air defense systems and radars, according to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
After the attacks, the Houthis did not provide an assessment of the damage, though they issued a statement.
‘These attacks will not discourage Yemeni forces and the nation from maintaining their support for Palestinians in the face of Zionist occupation and crimes,’ Houthi military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said. ‘The aggressors’ airstrikes will not go unanswered.’
The Behshad and Saviz are suspected of being spy ships for Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, as both ships have loitered in the Red Sea off Yemen for years.
Saudi Arabia described the Saviz in 2017 as a maritime base and weapons transfer point for the Revolutionary Guard. The ship was staffed by men in military fatigues, and Saudi-owned television stations showed the ship with what looked to be a machine bolted to the deck of the ship and covered.
Iran’s regular army issued a statement in a video on Sunday, which, according to The Associated Press, has a narrator describing the two vessels as ‘floating armories.’
The narrator also reportedly describes the Behshad as an aid for countering piracy in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,’ though Iran is not known to have been part of any campaigns recently against Somali piracy in the region, at least publicly.
Before the U.S. launched its attacks, the Behshad moved south into the Gulf of Aden, and it is now docked in Djibouti in East Africa, near a Chinese Military base.
The video statement ends with images of U.S. warships, an American flag and a warning.
‘Those engaging in terrorist activities against Behshad, or similar vessels jeopardize international maritime routes, security and assume global responsibility for potential future international risks,’ the video stated.
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command did not immediately respond to inquiries from Fox News Digital on the matter.
The Saviz is reportedly in the Indian Ocean near the location where the U.S. claims Iranian drone attacks have targeted ships.
The same ship, in 2021, had a hole blown through its hull by a possible mine explosion in an attack suspected to have been carried out by Israel. The ship ultimately returned to its port.
Fox News Digital’s Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.