The U.S. Justice announced the “successful” seizure of weapons and missiles as well as a shipment of Iranian crude oil that was headed by ship to Venezuela. These were seizures that occurred in 2019 and 2020 under the Trump administration, with the legal actions finally concluded in November and December 2021.
The crude oil, valued at more than $26 million, was owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard terrorist group and was being transported to Venezuela to help the tyranny of Nicolás Maduro circumvent international sanctions.
According to a Department of Justice statement, “the U.S. Navy seized the weapons from two vessels in the Arabian Sea while conducting routine maritime security operations;” and at the same time seized “Iranian petroleum products from four foreign-flagged tankers in or around the Arabian Sea while en route to Venezuela.”
“These actions represent the government’s largest-ever forfeitures of fuel and weapons shipments from Iran,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Sale of Iranian crude oil bound for Venezuela
After announcing that “the United States Prevails in Actions to Seize and Forfeit Iranian Terror Group’s Missiles and Petroleum,” the Justice Department noted that the crude oil shipment has now been sold and its net proceeds may be directed, in whole or in part, to the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.
“The actions of the United States in these two cases strike a resounding blow to the Government of Iran and to the criminal networks supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves of the District of Columbia also said in a statement that the successful seizure of the seized crude oil and weapons “demonstrate that not only can we disrupt the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ ability to finance its operations through petroleum sales, but we can also thwart its ability to use the proceeds of such sales to arm its terrorist proxies and export terrorism abroad.”
Israel denounces that Iran transfers weapons to Venezuela
Israeli Defense Minister Beny Gantz recently denounced that “Iran transfers arms and oil to Venezuela” and that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force also operates in South America.
Gantz did not provide further details on these alleged operations, but framed them within the framework of what he described as the “export of Iranian terrorism” under the directive of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.