Senators ask Biden to let agency capture Iran oil vessels

Senators ask Biden to let agency capture Iran oil vessels
Image: Reuters

Senators from both parties have requested President Joe Biden to allow the seizure of Iranian oil and gas shipments by a federal government agency in view of the rising amount of Iranian oil exports in violation of US sanctions imposed over the country’s nuclear program.

Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal voiced their concern in a letter to President Biden that the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division had been unable to intercept an Iranian oil shipment for over a year.

According to the senators’ letter, the Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture at the Department of Treasury has imposed constraints on HSI enforcement.

Since the start of the HSI enforcement campaign in 2019, senators have seized over $228 million in Iranian crude and gasoline oil linked to Iran’s Quds Force, the worldwide espionage and paramilitary branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Despite Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, the US believes it enriches uranium for nuclear weapon development.

Iranian oil exports have reached a record level after the reimposition of US sanctions in 2018, according to Iranian oil minister Javad Owji. He said that oil shipments increased by 83 million barrels last year.

Twelve senators sent the letter on the same day that the US Navy reported that Iran had assaulted or detained another commercial vessel, this time flying the Marshall Islands flag in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranian military claimed to have seized the ship after it collided with an Iranian boat.

“While Iran seizes ships, our own program is completely stagnant,” an Ernst adviser said. Senators requested Biden to instruct the Treasury Department to guarantee that HSI Iranian oil seizures are maintained and financed for the balance of this fiscal year after claiming to have reliable leads on implementing Iranian sanctions.

Last year, the US tried to detain an Iranian oil cargo near Greece, leading Iran to seize two Greek ships in the Gulf. The package must be returned to Iran, according to Greece’s top court. The two Greek tankers were finally released.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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