Tuesday, April 16, 2024

VP warns Iran to take ‘reciprocal action’ if its ships are seized by US

Iran’s Vice President for Legal Affairs Mohammad Dehqan has stressed that the country will reciprocate if its ships are seized illegally, as the United States acknowledges the confiscation of Iranian oil.

Speaking to the ISNA news agency on Thursday, Dehqan said, “The legal path is not closed” regarding measures vis-à-vis Washington’s confiscation of Iranian crude.

“If an Iranian ship is seized, we will take reciprocal action,” he warned American officials.

On February 2, the US Department of Justice announced that it had seized more than 520,000 barrels of Iran’s oil aboard the crude tanker Abyss, which had been anchored in the Yellow Sea en route to China.

It claimed the seizure was linked to sanctions-evasion charges and an oil trafficking network that allegedly finances Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Dehqan noted that he was not able to confirm whether US authorities had seized an Iranian vessel, adding that the Oil Ministry and related companies should comment on the news.

“This is because sometimes they (the Americans) seize a ship and mistakenly regard it as ours.”

Under the guise of “sanctions-enforcement operations”, the United States has in recent years seized foreign vessels carrying Iranian oil across the world.

However, Iranian exports of crude oil grew by roughly 50 percent in 2023 to a five-year high of about 1.29 million barrels per day.

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