Iran condemns U.S. for ‘bragging about stealing’ oil

TEHRAN- Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, denounced on Friday a U.S. decision to sell an oil shipment allegedly seized from Iran, calling it an act of theft.

“The Pirates of the Caribbean openly boasting about their booty,” Khatibzadeh said in a tweet after news media outlets reported that the United States has sold alleged Iranian oil that was seized in August on its way to Venezuela.

According to an AFP report, the oil was sold for more than $40 million.

In mid-August, the U.S. Justice Department claimed in a statement that the U.S. has seized Iranian fuel from four tankers bound for Venezuela.

“On July 2, 2020, the United States filed a complaint seeking to forfeit all petroleum-product cargo aboard four foreign-flagged oil tankers, including the M/T Bella with international maritime organization (IMO) number 9208124, the M/T Bering with IMO number 9149225, the M/T Pandi with IMO number 9105073, and the M/T Luna with IMO number 9208100.  A seizure order for the cargo from all four vessels was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeb Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,” said the statement, adding, “The government announced today that it has successfully executed the seizure order and confiscated the cargo from all four vessels, totaling approximately 1.116 million barrels of petroleum. With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in U.S. custody.”

But Iran denied at the time that the U.S. has seized fuel from Iranian tankers. An informed Iranian source had told Press TV that the report that the U.S. has seized Iranian fuel cargoes aboard ships bound for Venezuela was false.

According to the Source, the fuel shipments in question had already been purchased and paid for, and that neither the vessels carrying them nor the shipments themselves were related to Iran.

Khatibzadeh reiterated that the oil that the U.S. has sold did not belong to Iran. “Only, as we said before: it wasn’t ours. But somebody else’s oil has certainly been stolen. No one civilized brags about stealing,” the spokesman asserted.

He also took a jab at U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien who recently implied that the U.S. has exhausted its sanctions option toward Iran.

 “To U.S. rogue regime: your toolbox, unlike ours, is shrinking by the day. Ask Robert O’Brien,” Khatibzaded noted.

O’Brien has admittedly said, “One of the problems that we have faced with both Iran and Russia is that we now have so many sanctions against these countries that we have very little (opportunity) to do anything about it.”

In response, Iran said the U.S. O’Brien’s remarks are yet another proof that the U.S. has exhausted its sanctions option on Iran and that it has resorted to more economic warfare against Iran.

“NSA Robert O’Brien just admitted that U.S. has out-sanctioned its ability to inflict more pain on Iranian people. Time for the U.S. to finally admit it is a sanction addict. Kick the habit. More economic warfare against Iran will bring the U.S. less—and not more—influence,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet recently, shortly after the U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.

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