ISSN 2330-717X

US Seeks To Seize Iran Gasoline Shipments Heading To Venezuela

By

(RFE/RL) — U.S. prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is currently shipping to Venezuela, the latest attempt to increase pressure on the two sanctioned anti-American allies.

The civil-forfeiture complaint filed in the District of Columbia federal court late on July 1 claims the sale was arranged by an Iranian businessman with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

Since September 2018, the IRGC’s elite Quds Force has moved oil through a sanctioned shipping network involving dozens of ship managers, vessels, and facilitators, according to the lawsuit.

“The profits from these activities support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad,” the prosecutors alleged.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations said that any attempt by the United States to prevent Iranian lawful trading with any country of its choosing would be an act of “piracy.”

The four tankers named in the complaint — the Bella, Bering, Pandi, and Luna — are carrying 1.1 million barrels of gasoline, the U.S. prosecutors said.

The Justice Department said on July 2 that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a warrant to seize all the gasoline on the vessels, “based on a probable cause showing of forfeitability.”

The United States has been pressing for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s ouster with a campaign of diplomatic and punitive measures, including sanctions on its energy sector.

The South American country is suffering from a gasoline shortage amid a ravaging economic crisis.

Tensions have been on the rise between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy.

RFE RL

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

One thought on “US Seeks To Seize Iran Gasoline Shipments Heading To Venezuela

  • Avatar
    July 3, 2020 at 12:47 pm
    Permalink

    Iran sent six shipments to Venezuela more than a month ago. I have not heard anything about them in the US Media. But many countries in the world were expected that the USA would respond. Nothing has happened.
    Iran has the rights to trade with any country in the world. Both countries are under sanctions by Trump and these sanctions are not authorized by the Security Council. Both countries are members of the UN and both countries have their freedom to trade.
    I think if the USA has responded to these ships, Iran will respond as well. The USA has no military power in the region to counter Iran and its allied. Any action by the Trump administration will be countered and any war with Iran will eliminate the US bases in West Asia.
    To my knowledge when Iraq nationalized its oil in 1972 the USA indicated that Iraq would not be able to sell its oil. After nine months Iraq was marketing oil on the USSR ships. The USA did nothing. Iran has done so a month ago and the USA has done nothing. For me, the USA evaluated the costs against benefits in both cases and decided no to act.
    Iran and Iraq soon will trade more with Syria and Lebanon because the two countries are under Trump’s sanctions which aimed at disarming the two countries. But the Iraqi Libyan Model will not be accepted in the Middle East.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.