On Thursday, US officials sequestered the cargoes of four Iranian tankers that were on their way to Venezuela, said US officials.
The seizure was done to intensify the government’s campaign to pressure defiant countries that are sanctioned by the US.
Last month, state prosecutors in Washington filed a civil forfeiture complaint on a transaction allegedly handled by a businessman, Mahmoud Madanipour.
However, during that time, sanction experts speculated that it would be impossible to implement the US court order in international waters.
They were wrong.
Also, Madanipour purportedly has ties with a US-designated terrorist group: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Associated Press said.
The four vessels’ whereabouts are currently unknown, AP reported.
Russ Dallen, a Miami-based partner of Caracas Capital Markets, said that the ship captains shut off their positioning device weeks ago.
A Little Help From Foreign Friends
Reuters reported that foreign affiliates assisted the Justice Department in the forfeiture.
“Foreign partners” lent a hand in putting the sequestered “property in U.S. custody,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
However, the Justice Department didn’t give precise details of when, where, or how the seizure took place.
The four tankers were worth approximately 1.116 million barrels of fuel.
President Trump To President Maduro: Leave The Office
Washington sanctioned Iran and Venezuela to restrain oil exports, AP reported.
Accordingly, the sanction will deprive the two countries of their primary source of revenue.
The sanction is implemented in an attempt to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, whose regime made Venezuela suffer a socioeconomic crisis, said a Reuters report.
Iran Pushing Back
Hojad Soltani, Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela, tweeted that both the ships and their owners are not Iranian, AP reported.
The seizure is “another lie” and “an act of psychological warfare perpetrated by the U.S.,” Soltani wrote.
“The terrorist #Trump cannot compensate for his humiliation and defeat” by using “false” publicity against Iran, Soltani added.