17:52 GMT11 May 2021
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    On Friday, The US Department of Justice confirmed a Thursday report by The Wall Street Journal, that US authorities had “successfully” disrupted a “multi-million dollar fuel shipment” by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), after seizing four oil tankers in international waters carrying alleged Iranian gasoline bound for Venezuela.

    Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Saturday refuted allegations by the Trump administration about a US seizure of four Iranian oil tankers with fuel bound for Venezuela, saying that the vessels involved in what he described as an act of “piracy” were not Iran-flagged and the fuel onboard didn't belong to Tehran.

    “‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ have their own judges and courts now. Sadly for them, stolen booty wasn't Iran's. Fuel was sold F.O.B. [freight on board] Persian Gulf. Ship and flag weren't ours either,” Zarif tweeted, referring to a shipping expression used to indicate when liability and ownership of goods is transferred from a seller to a buyer.

    The diplomat added that the “hollow and cheap propaganda” would not cover up the White House's “miserable failure” to pass a United Nation Security Council draft resolution aiming to extend an arms embargo against Iran, set to expire in October.

    “Hollow, cheap propaganda doesn’t deflect from miserable failure of US diplomatic malpractice at UN,” Zarif stated.

    Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made similar remarks, commenting on claims from the Trump administration regarding a seizure of oil tankers carrying Iranian cargo, stating that the story was “cooked up” by the White House which had suffered a “political defeat” in the UNSC vote.

    “Having suffered the political defeat, the Americans claimed to have seized four Iranian vessels in international waters. It however turned out later that neither were the tankers Iranian nor Iran-flagged. It was all just fake news,” Rouhani said on Saturday, quoted by Press TV.

    On Friday, the UNSC rejected a resolution introduced by the Trump White House, to indefinitely extend a weapons embargo on Iran envisioned in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal ahead of its expiration on 18 October. The UNSC noted that the US resolution did not receive the required number of votes to be adopted.

    Out of the 15 UNSC member states, the resolution was endorsed only by the US and the Dominicans, and objected by Russia and China, while 11 countries abstained.

    A Thursday report by The Wall Street Journal, confirmed on Friday by the US Justice Department, claimed that US authorities had seized four Iranian oil tankers carrying gasoline to Venezuela, a nation that is also under heavy US sanctions. The department said it was Washington’s largest-ever seizure of Iranian fuel shipments.

    “The Justice Department today announced the successful disruption of a multi-million dollar fuel shipment by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, that was bound for Venezuela,” according to a Friday DoJ press release.


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    Mohammed Javad Zarif, arms embargo, UNSC, UN, seizure, Oil, United States, Iran
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