A multimillion-dollar fuel shipment from a designated foreign terrorist organization in Iran to Venezuela was disrupted by the Justice Department, according to a Friday news release.Justice officials say the seizure of the shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran.
After executing a court-issued seizure order, the government confiscated nearly 1.116 million barrels of petroleum-product cargo that was aboard four foreign oil tankers named M/T Bella, M/T Pandi, M/T Luna and M/T Bering, prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in the press release.When the forfeiture operation was completed, “Iran’s navy forcibly boarded an unrelated ship in an apparent attempt to recover the seized petroleum, but was unsuccessful,” prosecutors said.The failed mission from Iran’s military was captured on video and published on the US Central Command’s Twitter account.
“The proceeds from these shipments would have allegedly benefited Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a Friday statement, adding that the proceeds “if successfully forfeited in U.S. courts, could now support the U.S.
Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund instead of those engaging in terrorism, like the IRGC.”Last May, federal authorities from the Southern District of New York announced the seizure of a North Korean cargo ship that was used to carry valuable coal to other countries and sold to fund that country’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program. The North Korean ship named M/V Wise Honest hauled heavy machinery into their country, including 412,584 kilograms of “steel plate.”