Iran aid ship to Yemen,

New tensions build between U.S. and Iran in waters off Yemen

Potential showdown brews over cargo ship said to be carrying aid

The U.S. military and its Saudi allies are preparing for another potential showdown with Iran in the Gulf of Aden over the fate of a cargo ship said to be carrying aid for Yemen.

Two Iranian warships have linked up in the waters off Yemen’s coast with an Iranian vessel believed to be carrying humanitarian aid for civilians caught in Saudi Arabia’s two-month-old bombing campaign against Houthis who have seized control of Yemen’s capital and government, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

That has raised concerns that Iran will ignore international pressure and send the ship directly to Yemen without agreeing to United Nations inspections. If Iran defies the U.N. and U.S., it could set the stage for a showdown in which Saudi ships might try to block the flotilla from reaching Yemen.

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This article was written by Dion Nissenbaum & Asa Fitch for The Wall Street Journal on May 19, 2015. Dion Nissenbaum is a national security reporter based in Washington for The Wall Street Journal. He covers the defense industry and the Pentagon. Asa Fitch writes about economics, finance and investment from The Wall Street Journal’s Dubai bureau. His coverage areas include the economies of the Gulf and the region’s large sovereign wealth funds.