ISSN 2330-717X

US Seizes Four Tankers With Iranian Fuel Headed For Venezuela

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The US Justice Department announced Friday that it has disrupted of a multimillion dollar fuel shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, that was bound for Venezuela. 

These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran, according to the Justice Department. 

The Justice Department noted that on July 2, 2020, the United States filed a complaint seeking to forfeit all petroleum-product cargo aboard four foreign-flagged oil tankers, including the M/T Bella, the M/T Bering, the M/T Pandi and the M/T Luna.

A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The US government said Friday that it has successfully executed the seizure order and confiscated the cargo from all four vessels, totaling approximately 1.116 million barrels of petroleum.  With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in US custody, the Justice Department said.   

After enforcement of the US forfeiture order, Iran’s navy forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum, but was unsuccessful. 

US Central Command published a video of the failed Iranian operation Thursday.  See https://twitter.com/CENTCOM/status/1293678243552395264

Funds successfully forfeited with a connection to a state sponsor of terrorism may in whole or in part be directed to the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund after the conclusion of the case, the Justice Department said.

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