US forces seize fuel from cargo tankers headed from Iran to Venezuela: Reports

The Trump administration has reportedly been attempting to tighten the screws with regard to Iran and those doing business with the nation.

As MarketWatch reported, the latest development, which came this week, involves the U.S. seizing gas headed from to Venezuela from Iran.

Trump administration issues warning

Federal prosecutors in the U.S. reportedly filed a forfeiture complaint last month against Iranian businessman Mahmoud Madanipour, alleging he maintained ties to the nation’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. President Donald Trump has declared the military group a terrorist organization, according to MarketWatch.

At the time, experts opined that such an order would be impossible to enforce in international waters.

A senior Trump administration official, however, confirmed in a statement to the Associated Press that the cargo from several tankers attempting to transport gasoline from Iran had been seized.

The official said the ships themselves were not confiscated and there was no need for military intervention or force in the seizure of the cargo.

As in previous cases, the ships used to transport goods between the two nations in this incident reportedly turned off their tracking devices. After losing signal, the ships later reappeared near Cape Verde.

“Sends a clear signal to the maritime industry”

Although the report was interpreted as a victory for Trump and his administration, Iranian leaders predictably disapproved.

“This is another lie and act of psychological warfare perpetrated by the U.S. propaganda machine,” Iranian Ambassador Hojad Soltani tweeted, according to MarketWatch. “The terrorist [Trump] cannot compensate for his humiliation and defeat by Iran using false propaganda.”

Brian Hook, who led the mission for the U.S. Department of State, told the Financial Times that the “action sends a clear signal to the maritime industry to avoid any business with the Iranian regime.”

While the seizure is likely to contribute to ongoing fuel shortages that continue to plague Venezuela nationwide, Hook said that oil revenue “funds terrorism and a lot of sectarian violence” in Iran and America “will sanction anyone who engages in sanctionable activity.”

U.S. officials made it clear that they would take action where needed. Hopefully, this incident will convince both countries — and others around the world — that the Trump administration will follow through on its warnings.

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