Reports are just coming out about a shipment of weapons that was seized by the US, purportedly bound for Yemen. The shipment of assault rifles, heavy caliber machine guns, and rocket propelled grenade launchers came from Iran, which leads one to the conclusion that it is extremely likely these weapons were meant to go to the Houthis. The Houthis are a Zaydist Shiite insurgency that fight against the Yemeni government. According to the coverage offered by an article in the New York Times, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called Iran’s acts of support “destabilizing.”
The United States supports the current president of Yemen. This means that Iran’s alleged support of the Houthis, a group that fights against the Yemeni government, puts increased strain on US-Iranian relations. According to the New York Times, this recent intercepted shipment could be a topic of interest at the UN Security Council.
It is my opinion that this event will have a major influence on the presidential elections going on in the US. Conservatives will undoubtedly pounce on this, using it as evidence as to why the nuclear deal is a bad idea. I have a strong feeling that the reasoning will be as follows: If Iran is supplying weapons to insurgencies now, it won’t be that long until they try to distribute nuclear materials. This is an invalid line of reasoning, but the conservative candidates will still use it and it will work.
US-Iranian relations have only recently begun to see some improvement. This weapons shipment signals the beginning of a very long and arduous political battle regarding whether or not relations will continue to improve. While it isn’t necessarily a catastrophic occurrence, it will serve to dispel any illusions of a smooth transition to friendly interaction between the US and Iran.