US confirms seizure of Iranian

US confirms seizure of Iranian fuel on Venezuela-bound ships

WASHINGTON (Agencies): The US Justice Department confirms it had seized the fuel cargo aboard four tankers sent by Iran to crisis-wracked Venezuela, tying the shipments to Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards.

“With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in US custody,” the Justice Department says, putting the total at more than one million barrels of petroleum and calling it the largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran.

The department had issued a warrant last month to seize the cargo of the tankers Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to Venezuela Hojat Soltani reacted to the false news on the seizure of four Iranian tankers by the US and termed it as yet another lie by the propaganda machine of the Imperialism of America.

In a twitter post on Friday, the Ambassador rejected the fake news that the US has seized four tankers carrying Iranian oil.

He wrote: “Yet another lie and psychological warfare by the US propaganda machine. The tankers are neither Iranians, nor their owners or flags have anything to do with Iran. The terrorist Trump just wants to cover up the humiliation of his failure against the great nation of Iran by scattering false propaganda.”

The US newspaper Wall Street Journal on Friday morning carried an “exclusive” report quoted from American officials who claimed the tankers were seized within the past few days without the use of force. The newspaper claimed, ” The Trump administration has for the first time confiscated cargo in vessels allegedly loaded with Iran fuel in violation of sanctions, U.S. officials said, as it steps up its campaign of maximum pressure against Tehran.”.

Claiming that “4 Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela have been seized by the US,” it said, “The Luna, Pandi, Bering and Bella, were seized on the high seas in recent days and are now en route to Houston.”

Last month Reuters carried news claiming that “U.S. prosecutors filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is trying to ship to Venezuela, the latest attempt by the Trump administration to increase economic pressure on the two U.S. foes.”

A warrant was also issued by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg for the seizure of the more than 1.1 million barrels of gasoline in the four vessels aims to stop the flow of revenues from oil sales to Iran, Reuters added.

Earlier, five tankers delivered Iran’s oil to Venezuela successfully.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro appreciated Iran’s supports for his country and, terming Tehran and Caracas as two capitals who favor peace, stressed their right for free trade.

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