In a significant shift, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) affiliated news agency, Tasnim, recently admitted to providing Yemeni Houthi rebels with anti-ship missile technology.

This public acknowledgment, as reported by Breaking Defense last Wednesday, June 5, marks a departure from Iran’s previous denials and throws a spotlight on its growing role in arming regional proxies.

Analysts believe Iran’s newfound openness reflects a perceived increase in its regional power and a willingness to project it more forcefully.

The details provided by Tasnim suggest the transfer of technology for missiles like the Qadr, an Iranian anti-submarine design. This significantly bolsters the Houthis’ arsenal, empowering them to threaten vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, a critical artery for global trade.

The Red Sea carries roughly 10 percent of the world’s seaborne oil trade, and disruptions could have a cascading effect on global energy prices. Beyond oil, the waterway is crucial for transporting goods between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Red Sea Becomes a Flashpoint

Since November 2023, the Houthis have launched a series of attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

These attacks claimed to be in solidarity with the Palestinian group Hamas, have disrupted maritime traffic and raised serious concerns about freedom of navigation in the region.

Western nations responded with a multi-pronged approach. Operations like “Prosperity Guardian” and “EUNAVFOR ASPIDES” deployed military vessels to intercept incoming missiles, while “Poseidon Archer” launched retaliatory strikes against Houthi targets.