IN THE OLD DAYS, WHEN MEN OF QUESTIONABLE CHARITER TOOK TO THE SEAS IN ARMED SHIPS TO WAGE WAR ON PEACEFUL WORLD COMMERCE, KILLING AND STEALING BY FORCE, THEY WERE CALLED PIRATES AND ANY HONEST GOVERNMENT WAS DUTY BOUND TO HANG THEM.
The Ole Dog!
‘U.S. Sells Seized Iranian Fuel, Another Cargo on the Way’
WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – The United States has sold more than a million barrels of Iranian fuel seized under its sanctions program last year, a Department of Justice official said, as another ship with intercepted Iranian crude oil sails to a U.S. port.
The seizures are part of Washington’s tough economic sanctions on Tehran imposed over its nuclear program and the U.S. designation of a number of Iranian groups as terrorists, continuing decades of rancor between the two nations. Iran rejects U.S. accusations of wrongdoing.
In a new approach last year, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump used civil forfeiture procedures to seize some 1.2 million barrels of gasoline it said were being sent from Iran to Venezuela aboard four tankers.
The shipments, the largest seizure by Washington of Iranian fuel to date, were transferred to other vessels and sent to the United States, where the fuel was meant to be sold and the proceeds distributed to a fund for U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism.
Department of Justice spokesman Marc Raimondi told Reuters this week that the sale of the cargoes had been completed, adding that the government was “still working out the final expenses.”
“The petroleum has been seized, and an interlocutory sale has preserved the cash value of the petroleum, which is now held by the U.S. Marshals Service” he said. The value of the gasoline was not known, but was likely worth tens of millions of dollars based on benchmark European gasoline prices.
Raimondi said the department still needs the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to enter an order of forfeiture “and then the funds will be transferred to the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.”
The fund was established by the U.S. government in 2015 to award compensation to individuals who suffered harm as a result of an act of international terrorism by a state sponsor of terrorism.
Last week, the United States filed a lawsuit to seize another cargo, this one of crude oil it says came from Iran -rather than Iraq, as stated on the bill of lading – contravening U.S. terrorism regulations.