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Tehran Accuses Washington of Piracy

Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, in a press conference on Monday October 12, 2020.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, in a press conference on Monday October 12, 2020.

On Friday, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of acting like "Pirates of the Caribbean" following the U.S. government's seizure of Iranian gasoline for Venezuela.

On October 29, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had sold 1.1 million barrels of previously seized Iranian gasoline bound for Venezuela.

It said proceeds from the sale would go to a special fund for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

The value of the shipment was $40 million.

The consignment was seized last month, the latest case of Washington's maximum pressure exerted on Iran on the eve of the U.S. presidential election on November 3.

"'Pirates of the Caribbean' are openly boasting about their booty," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted about the U.S. on Friday.

Although the consignment did not belong to Iran, "someone else's cargo has definitely been stolen, and no one civilized brags about stealing," he wrote.

He went even further by calling the U.S. a "rogue regime," adding, "your toolbox, unlike ours, is shrinking."

Tehran has repeatedly insisted that the confiscated cargo was sold to Venezuela on a FOB basis, and the deal was settled.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's confiscation order, the shipment belonged to companies affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The transportation firms had tried to hide it in the bill of lading, DOJ said.

The State Department issued the seizure order on Thursday, sanctioning 11 Iranian individuals and entities for their involvement in selling and purchasing Iranian oil products.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government also announced that it had seized a shipment of missiles Iran had sent to Yemen. Tehran denied the allegations in July, saying that Washington intended to justify its efforts to extend the UN arms embargo against Iran by spreading such news.

Iran has consistently denied Saudi Arabia and the United States' allegations that it provided arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen.