Spanish – Venezuela’s illegal business with Iran will have a different destination than the one planned by Nicolás Maduro‘s dictatorship, which exchanges gasoline for gold, given the country’s fuel shortage.
The U.S. Justice Department reported that it would use 40 million USD obtained from the sale of confiscated fuel to help victims of terrorism, Efe reported.
The amount corresponds to 1.1 million barrels of gasoline, diesel oil, and refined products confiscated in August from the Liberian-flagged cargo ships and Greek shipowners Bella, Bering, Luna, and Pandi.
This was achieved thanks to a lawsuit filed by the National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office before a court, which led to the seizure of a murky business between two nations that are in Washington’s sights because of their totalitarian regimes linked to terrorism.
In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Iran’s sale of oil to Venezuela in exchange for gold directly finances the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG), a terrorist organization that has sought to expand in the continent.
“Upon being presented with the court’s seizure order, the ships’ owner transferred the petroleum to the government, and we can now announce that the United States has sold and delivered that petroleum,” the Justice Department said.
The business of Iranian terrorism
The United States also announced that they intercepted two unflagged vessels with 171 anti-tank guided missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, and several other missile components heading for Yemen.
“Additional analysis revealed that the arms were from the IRGC-Quds Force and destined for militant groups in Yemen,” the statement reads.
John Demers, the head of national security at the Justice Department, said that “These actions represent the government’s largest-ever civil seizures of fuel and weapons from Iran.”
The United States highlighted Iran’s role as a sponsor of terrorism and a global destabilizer. So this time, its business will serve to benefit the victims.
“Our intentions are to take the funds successfully forfeited from the fuel sales and provide them to the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund after the conclusion of the case,” Demers said.
The danger of dictatorship
Washington has previously accused Iran of using foreign-flagged and foreign-owned vessels to violate sanctions that veto its right to sell fuel, says the BBC.
“Over the last few years, cases involving Iran’s efforts to evade the restrictions account for more than 40% of the prosecutions the Department has brought,” the agency says.
Venezuela has an endless list of businesses with Iran, a country that has become Maduro’s accomplice in exchange for gold and to extend his influence in the hemisphere.
If we do a count, such ties even include business through PDVSA, delivery of Venezuelan passports to terrorists, frontmen of Iranian nationality, and even the trust of high officials to persons linked to the Hassan Rohani regime.
At the same time, the United States has already sanctioned Iranian banks and institutions and Maduro’s own dictatorship, a policy that has become entrenched in Donald Trump’s administration, seeking to coerce regimes that go against democracy.