US seizes Iranian missiles, slaps Iran-related sanctions on 11 entities

The US Justice Department also announced the filing of two civil forfeiture complaints involving the seizure of Iranian oil and weapons. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 October 2020

US seizes Iranian missiles, slaps Iran-related sanctions on 11 entities

  • The State and Treasury Departments slapped sanctions on a combined 11 different entities and individuals
  • Sanctioned were imposed for their involvement in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemicals

WASHINGTON: The United States revealed on Thursday it had seized Iranian missiles shipped to Yemen and sold 1.1 million barrels of previously seized Iranian oil that was bound for Venezuela, in the Trump administration's latest move to increase pressure on Tehran less than a week before Nov. 3 election.
The unsealing of the forfeiture complaints, by the Justice Department, came at the same time that the Treasury Department and State Department jointly slapped sanctions on a combined 11 different entities and individuals for their involvement in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemicals.
The latest actions against Iran come after US intelligence officials earlier this month alleged that Iranian hackers sought to threaten some US voters by sending them spoofed emails that were made to appear as though they were from the pro-Trump Proud Boys group.

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Michael Sherwin, the acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, said on Thursday that the unsealing of the Justice Department's complaints was "divorced from politics."
"These actions started last summer. And these are fluid, organic situations," he said.
The Justice Department's forfeiture civil cases involve alleged schemes by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to secretly ship weapons to Yemen and fuel to Venezuela.
Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division John Demers said on Thursday that the US government had sold and delivered 1.1 million barrels of Iranian fuel that had been destined for Venezuela, which it had seized earlier this year.
According to the complaint, the fuel originated with firms tied to the IRGC, and shippers took steps to mask ownership. The two vessels carrying the fuel, the Liberia-flagged Euroforce and Singapore-flagged Maersk Progress, had struggled to discharge and shifted course multiple times over the past several weeks.


Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

Updated 01 December 2020

Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

  • “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran” minister tweeted

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday Mohammad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, was “desperate” to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is desperate to blame the Kingdom for anything negative that happens in Iran. Will he blame us for the next earthquake or flood?” he tweeted.

“It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran, which has done so since the Khomeini Revolution in 1979. Ask us, and ask many other countries who have lost many of their citizens due to Iran’s criminal and illegal behavior,” he added.

Al-Jubeir's comments come after Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday.

Fakhrizadeh has been described by Western and Israeli intelligence services for years as the leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003, which Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to restore in secret.

Iran has blamed external entities, including Israel and an exiled opposition group, for the killing.