After a weekend of intense United States airstrikes against its proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, Iran has issued a harsh warning not to target a ship that U.S. officials and analysts suspect of providing real-time intelligence for attacks on other vessels in the Red Sea. The ship is also allegedly serving as a forward operating base for its militants.

In a video published on the Iranian army’s Telegram channel Sunday, a narrator says in English that “those engaging in terrorist activities against the MV Behshad or similar vessels, jeopardize international maritime routes, and security and assume global responsibility for potential future international risks.”  The video further claims that the Behshad as a “floating armory.” The narrator says it is involved in missions to “counteract piracy in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” although Iran is not publicly known to have taken part in any recent anti-piracy campaigns in the region, according to a report by NBC News. 

When asked by NBC News about the ship Monday, Defense Department press secretary Major General Patrick Ryder said, “I am not aware of the U.S. targeting the Behshad. We are very well aware of the ship.”

The Behshad is registered as a commercial cargo ship with a Tehran-based company that the U.S. Treasury has sanctioned as allegedly being a front for the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

The Iranian ship provides electronic intelligence to the Houthis, enabling them to spot and target vessels in the Red Sea region, according to a U.S. official, a U.S. congressional aide with knowledge of the matter and a Middle Eastern official. –NBC News

Houthi Rebels Continue Attacks In Red Sea

“It’s a sort of open secret within government circles that this ship is causing us quite significant problems,” said Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, a Washington-based think tank. “Wherever the Behshad goes happens to be more or less where the Houthis happen to be targeting their anti-ship ballistic missiles, suicide drones, and suicide boats,” he added.

This ship could also play a vital role in a retaliatory response against the U.S. for it’s strikes over the weekend.

Houthi Rebels Vow Revenge Against U.S. After Attacks This Weekend

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