Today, the US announced that it confiscated 1.1 million barrels of Iranian petroleum from four tankers bound to Venezuela in August.
Elliott Abrams, US State Department’s special representative for Iran and Venezuela, called the sequestration case a “triple victory” for the American national security interests.
He said that Washington deprived Iran of oil income, blocked badly needed fuel supplies to the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and will go into a fund for the American victims of state-sponsored terrorism.
Washington ordered Iran’s pastoral regime to pay compensation over the bombing that happened in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US airmen.
Iran denied responsibility and stated that it will not pay anything, saying Washington should instead compensate for past incidents including its support of Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War.
In July, federal prosecutors filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard the four tankers that Iran was trying to ship to Venezuela, aiming to prevent the revenues from reaching Iran.
In August, President Donald Trump’s administration said it carried out “the largest seizure of fuel shipments from Iran” which Venezuela had already paid for.
The seizure is the first successful attempt by Washington authorities to confiscate Iranian cargoes since the re-imposition of a sanctions ban on all exports from Iran in May 2019, two previous attempts failed to secure Iranian tankers at foreign ports.
Iran in May-June and again in September-October used tankers owned by national company NIOC to deliver a total of eight cargoes of gasoline to Venezuela, helping to temporarily alleviate a severe gasoline shortage in Venezuela.
Washington subsequently vowed to disrupt further deliveries of Iranian fuel to Venezuela but can point to success only in the case of cargoes being transported aboard tankers not carrying the Iranian flag.