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As Iranian ships cross Atlantic, Austin says he's 'concerned' about weapons proliferation near US

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin did not say whether the U.S. knows what the Iranian ships are carrying.

Updated: June 10, 2021 - 10:31pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two Iranian ships are currently traversing the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Iran's state TV reported Thursday.

The Associated Press said that American media reports citing anonymous U.S. officials have claimed that the vessels are heading for Venezuela, but the AP noted it was not able to immediately confirm where the ships are heading.

When asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Thursday whether the U.S. administration knows what the ships are carrying, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin did not publicly divulge what is known, but said he could take the question in a different forum.

"It would be the first time that Iranian vessels have made such a transit and the precedent of allowing Iran to provide weapons to the region causes me grave concern. Do you share that concern? And how would such delivery effect the region in your view?" Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked Austin, prior to posing the question about the administration's knowledge of the ships' cargo.

"I am absolutely concerned about the proliferation of weapons, any type of weapons, in our neighborhood," Austin had responded.

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