The U.S. Justice Department announced that acting upon a U.S. District Court seizure order, the U.S. had confiscated the cargo of four vessels, “a multimillion dollar fuel shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)… bound for Venezuela”. “With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in U.S. custody”, the statement added. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that “the proceeds from the Iranian gasoline, if successfully forfeited in U.S. courts, could now support the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund”. He further argued that “we are seeing more and more global shipping fleets avoiding the Iran-Venezuela trade due to our sanctions implementation and enforcement efforts”. Iran’s ambassador to Caracas reacted to the news by saying: “another lie and psychological warfare by the U.S.’s imperialism propaganda machine. The tankers are neither Iranians, nor their owners or flags have anything to do with Iran”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif maintained that the “stolen booty wasn’t Iran’s… ship and flag weren’t ours either. Hollow, cheap propaganda doesn’t deflect from the miserable failure of U.S. diplomatic malpractice at the UN”. President Rouhani struck a similar note, asserting that “the news turned out to be a lie, and they did it to cover up their humiliation”.
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