Home / World / The US seizure of Iranian fuel in Venezuela was the largest seizure of its kind ever, according to the DOJ

The US seizure of Iranian fuel in Venezuela was the largest seizure of its kind ever, according to the DOJ

The Justice Department (DOJ) announced on Friday the US government’s “largest ever” seizure of fuel shipments from Iran, which successfully interrupted a multimillion-dollar broadcast by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a designated foreign terrorist organization in Venezuela.

The Justice Department said Friday it had “successfully executed” the seizure warrant and seized cargo from all four ships, which amounted to around 1.116 million barrels of oil.


The Justice Department attributed the success to the US government, as well as assistance from foreign partners in seizing property.

Earlier this month, federal investigators received arrest warrants for Iranian oil products on board four tankers heading for Venezuela in violation of US sanctions.

FBI and Homeland Security investigators discovered that the cargo ships Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna are assets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a US-designated terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint.

The warrant for the confiscation of the cargo from all four ships was then issued by Judge Jeb Boasberg of the District Court of Columbia.

The profits from the broadcasts are said to support terrorism and a “variety of nefarious activities”

; ranging from purchasing weapons of mass destruction to funding human rights abuses. The four ships carry a total of more than a million barrels of Iranian gasoline.

Following the order, the Justice Department said earlier this month that the Iranian Navy had forcibly boarded an unrelated ship to apparently recover the seized oil but was unsuccessful.

The US Central Command released a video on Thursday showing Iranian forces trying to seize the oil.

“Today Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian” Sea King “helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called” Wila “in international waters,” said the US Central Command on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government said last month that it had issued an arrest warrant for President Trump in connection with a missile attack that killed IRGC General Qassem Soleimani in January.

US officials called the move a “propaganda stunt that nobody takes seriously”.


Soleimani played a role in the deaths of 608 American troops during the Iraq war, according to the State Department. He was the leader of the IRGC’s elite quds force, an intelligence division, and a designated terrorist group.

For months, the Trump administration has been curbing pressure on shipping to comply with US sanctions against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. The Treasury Department has also taken action against companies that violate them.

Michael Ruiz of Fox News contributed to this report.

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