The U.S. Navy is sending the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to the waters near Yemen in response to reported arms deliveries to Houthis rebels by Iran.

The warships are prepared to block Iran from reaching the impoverished country located on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

Last week Iran reportedly dispatched an armada of seven to nine ships to Yemen. U.S. defense officials characterized the mission as an effort to arm the Houthis.


In January Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace in the capital, Sana’a, and ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who is supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia. In March, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf emirate allies began conducting airstrikes against the Houthis.On Saturday Iran deemed accusations leveled by Saudi Arabia that it is arming the Shia rebels as “ridiculous.”

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi countered by saying Saudi Arabia is using U.S. weapons in airstrikes against the rebels.

“We’re assisting the Saudis to protect their own territory and to conduct operations that are designed to lead ultimately to a political settlement to Yemen,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Thursday.