The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday announced the “largest” seizure by the US government of fuel shipments from Iran in a successful disruption of a multi-million dollar shipment by the Guardian Corps. Islamic Revolution, a designated foreign terrorist organization, which was bound for Venezuela.
On Friday, the Justice Department said it had “successfully executed” the seizure order and confiscated the cargo of the four ships, which totaled around 1.116 million barrels of oil.
DOJ LOOKING TO SEIZE IRANIAN OIL TANKS
The Department of Justice attributed the success to the US government but also the help of foreign partners in the seizure of the property.
Earlier this month, federal investigators obtained warrants to seize Iranian petroleum products aboard four tankers bound for Venezuela in violation of US sanctions.
FBI and Homeland Security investigators discovered that the cargo ships, the Bella, the Bering, the Pandi and the Luna, are assets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organization designated by the United States. United, according to a criminal complaint.
The seizure order for the cargo of the four ships was then issued by U.S. Judge Jeb Boasberg of the District Court for the District of Columbia.
Profits from these expeditions are said to support terrorism and a “full spectrum of nefarious activities”, from the purchase of weapons of mass destruction to funding human rights violations. The four ships carry a combined total of more than one million barrels of Iranian gasoline.
After the order, earlier this month, the Justice Department said the Iranian navy forcibly boarded an independent vessel in an apparent attempt to recover the seized oil, but to no avail.
US Central Command released a video Thursday showing Iranian forces attempting to seize the oil.
“Today in international waters Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian” Sea King “helicopter, passed and boarded a ship called” Wila, “the US Central Command said on Twitter .
Meanwhile, the Iranian government said last month it had issued an arrest warrant for President Trump in connection with a missile strike that killed IRGC General Qassem Soleimani in January.
US officials called the move a “propaganda stunt that nobody takes seriously.”
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Soleimani played a role in the deaths of 608 American soldiers during the Iraq war, according to the State Department. He was the leader of the elite IRGC Quds Force, an intelligence wing and a designated terrorist group.
For months, the Trump administration has reduced pressure on the shipping industry to adhere to US sanctions against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. The Treasury Department also cracked down on companies that violated them.
Michael Ruiz of Fox News contributed to this report.