U.S. Navy seized missiles, petroleum products from Iranian military
Encounter with an Iranian ship
The US Navy has seized 171 surface-to-air missiles, eight anti-tank missiles and 1.1 million barrels of petroleum products worth $ 261 million from two Iranian ships in the Arabian Sea in three separate cases since 2019, the Justice Department said in a press release on Tuesday.
The navy confiscated the weapons in November 2019 and August 2020 during so-called routine missions at sea. The arms deliveries were made to Iranian-backed militants fighting in war-torn Yemen and were organized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the US has classified as a terrorist organization, according to the DOJ.
It followed Wednesday's announcement that the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. Issued a final order to confiscate arms shipments on November 15, the DOJ wrote.
The oil was officially launched in October 2021 after American officials were told by a court in Washington D.C. The US proved that the Iranian military would have benefited from selling the oil to militias in Yemen.
"The actions of the United States in these two cases are a severe blow to the Iranian government and the criminal networks that support the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," said Matthew Olsen, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's national security division.
Matthew Graves, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., also applauded the Navy sailors for the seizure of valuable weapons and fuel from a hostile country.
“These two cases show that not only can we disrupt the ability of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to fund its operations through oil sales, but we can also thwart its ability to use the proceeds from such sales to arm its terrorist agents and export terrorism abroad. “Said Graves in the press release.
The US and Iran escalated tensions in the Middle East following the assassination of Supreme General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020. Tehran attacked a US military base in retaliation for his death earlier this month, and the country is also blamed for a drone attack in October on a US base in Syria and the seizure of a tanker in the Arabian Sea.
The US is in the middle of indirect talks with Iran over the possible resumption of a 2015 nuclear deal that restricted Iran’s nuclear development in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
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