The United States managed to intercept and divert four tankers thus thwarting another attempt by Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, to import oil from Iran in violation of the sanctions imposed on his regime.
U.S. Judge Jeb Boasberg issued the order to seize more than 1.1 million barrels of petroleum transported on the tankers at the request of prosecutors, according to an Aug. 14 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report.
The use of weapons was not necessary to divert the tankers, and authorities threatened ship owners, insurance companies, and captains with sanctions, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The shipment had been sent by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
In retaliation for the seizure of the fuel, Iran’s navy raided a ship but failed in the attempt, according to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which released a video of the failed Iranian operation.
“Today in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian ‘Sea King’ helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the ‘Wila.'” tweeted @CENTCOM.
Today in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian "Sea King" helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the 'Wila.' pic.twitter.com/455UQ5jwHT
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) August 12, 2020
The value of the seized fuel could be given to the U.S.-sponsored Terrorism Victims Fund since it was seized from a state sponsor of terrorism.
Another shipment of Iranian fuel, made in May, was delivered smoothly to Venezuela, which was welcomed by the regimes in both countries.
In that case, Maduro sent military jets and warships to escort the transport tankers.
Maduro’s regime took power in Venezuela, and since then the nation with the largest oil reserves in the world has suffered deprivation of all kinds.
U.S. State Department’s Undersecretary of State for Cuba and Venezuela Carrie Filipetti, spoke about Venezuelan situation.
” While the Venezuelan people have suffered from a lack of access to basic food and medical care, the Maduro regime has used the money it does have not to support them, but to pay back bad loans to bad people,” Filipetti said, according to VOA.
She added, “They’re paying Russia for military support and equipment instead of buying food for the Venezuelan people. They’re sending free oil and gasoline, while the Venezuelan people stand in lines for hours simply with the hope of filling their gas tanks.”
And then adding, “And of course, they’re prioritizing the delivery of surveillance equipment from China [the CCP] over the delivery of much-needed humanitarian supplies.”