The US says it has taken management of 4 Iranian gasoline shipments certain for Venezuela within the largest-ever seizure of its type.
About 1.1 million barrels of gasoline had been confiscated “with the help of international companions”, in accordance with the Justice Department.
Washington mentioned the shipments violated US sanctions.
Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela claimed that neither the ships nor their house owners had been Iranian.
A decide issued a warrant for the seizure of the oil cargo from the 4 tankers after the US filed a lawsuit final month.
In an announcement on Friday, the US Justice Department mentioned it had “efficiently executed the seizure” of “a multimillion greenback gasoline cargo by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”
The IRGC is a department of the Iranian armed forces that the US has designated a international terrorist organisation.
“This seized property is now in US custody,” the assertion mentioned, with out specifying when or the place the seizures came about.
The US Justice Department mentioned that following the seizure, Iran’s navy made an unsuccessful bid to board an “unrelated ship” in an “obvious try and get better the seized petroleum.”
A senior US official instructed the Associated Press information company that no navy drive was used within the seizures and that the vessels themselves weren’t confiscated. Instead, the official mentioned, the US threatened the ships’ house owners, insurers and captains with sanctions to drive them handy over the oil.
It just isn’t at the moment clear the place the vessels — the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna — are.
Iranian Ambassador to Venezuela Hojat Soltani described stories of the seizures as “false propaganda”.
“This is one other lie and act of psychological warfare perpetrated by the US propaganda machine,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tensions between Iran and the US have escalated since Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 from a landmark nuclear deal.
Washington has imposed heavy sanctions on each Iran and Venezuela to dam oil exports. It needs to drive Venezeulan President Nicolas Maduro from energy and alter the behaviour of Iran’s leaders.
A spokeswoman for the US State Department mentioned “the proceeds from the Iranian gasoline, if efficiently forfeited in US courts, may now assist the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund as a substitute of these partaking in terrorism.”