US Struggles to Defend Forfeiture of Iranian Gasoline From Venezuela-Bound Tankers, Report Says


American authorities claim to have intercepted several shipments of Iranian petroleum in August 2020, forcing at least two vessels to bring their cargo to US ports.

The US government is facing a legal challenge over the forfeiture of the cargo intercepted from four purported Iranian tankers, Bloomberg reported. Washington claims that the cargo on the four intercepted vessels belongs to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), purportedly tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), dubbed a terrorist organisation in the US, but the ships’ owners reportedly dispute this claim and are challenging the forfeiture.

Bloomberg said Mobin International Limited, Oman Fuel Trading Ltd, and Sohar Fuel Trading LLC FZ have all filed for the dismissal of the US forfeiture of their ships cargoes. The Department of Justice, which served as a receiver of the fuel discharged from the purported Iranian tankers, has not commented on the suit.

Unless Washington manages to prove that the cargo was Iranian and substantiate its claim that the sale of the gasoline would benefit the IRGC, it will not be able to manage the confiscated fuel, for example, to sell it. Reacting to the initial US statement regarding the interception of the four tankers (Bella, Bering, Pandi, and Luna) Iran dismissed the American claims as “another lie and psychological warfare”. Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela, the country that was supposed to receive the shipments, said the seized ships…

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