The United States revealed on Thursday it had seized Iranian missiles shipped to Yemen and sold 1.1 million barrels of previously seized Iranian oil that was bound for Venezuela. The Trump Administration turns the heat on Iran ahead of the November 3 elections less than one week away.
The unsealing of the forfeiture complaints, by the Justice Department, came at the same time that the Treasury Department and State Department jointly slapped sanctions on a combined 11 different entities and individuals for their involvement in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemicals.
The latest actions against Iran come after U.S. intelligence officials earlier this month alleged that Iranian hackers sought to threaten some U.S. voters. Iran sent spoofed emails to appear as though the pro-Trump Proud Boys group sent them.
The terror group [IRGC] fought alongside Assad in Syria’s civil war. It committed many atrocities against Syrian civilians
THE IRGC IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION
Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said on Thursday that the unsealing of the Justice Department’s complaints was “divorced from politics.”
These actions started last summer. And these are fluid, organic situations.
The Justice Department’s forfeiture civil cases involve alleged schemes by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to secretly ship weapons to Yemen and fuel to Venezuela. The United States and many other countries consider the IRGC a terrorist organization. The terror group fought alongside Assad in Syria’s civil war. It committed many atrocities against Syrian civilians.
Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers said on Thursday that the U.S. government had sold and delivered 1.1 million barrels of Iranian fuel. Venezuela was to receive that oil. The U.S. sezied the oil earlier this year.
According to the complaint, the fuel originated with firms tied to the IRGC; in addition to shippers who took steps to mask ownership. The two vessels carrying the fuel, the Liberia-flagged Euroforce and Singapore-flagged Maersk Progress, had struggled to discharge. They shifted course multiple times over the past several weeks.
Reuters contributed to this article.