ANI Photo | US confirms seizing cargo containing Iranian oil earlier this year

The United States Department of Justice confirmed on Friday that it seized a cargo containing nearly one million barrels of Iranian oil earlier this year, Al Jazeera reported.
Notably, this strong move by the US resulted in severe tensions in the Gulf.
“This is the first-ever criminal resolution involving a company that violated sanctions by facilitating the illicit sale and transport of Iranian oil and comes in concert with a successful seizure of over 980,000 barrels of contraband crude oil,” said the Justice Department in a statement, according to Al Jazeera. 
The department hailed the move for “successfully disrupting a multimillion-dollar shipment of crude oil,” by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is designated as a “foreign terrorist organization” in the US. 
Following its seizure of the Iranian oil, Washington charged Tehran with arresting a number of foreign ships transiting the Gulf. 
Tehran was outraged when the Pentagon revealed in August that it was deploying tens of thousands more US soldiers to the area to “support deterrence efforts” and guard maritime lines, notably the Strait of Hormuz., according to Al Jazeera. 
Iran has argued that capturing Iranian property in international waters is equivalent to piracy, whereas the US regards stopping Iranian oil ships as law enforcement. 
“Acts of trespassing on tankers carrying Iranian oil are a clear example of piracy,” Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nasser Kanaani said last month, as per Al Jazeera.
In August, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington would welcome any steps from Tehran for de-escalating the “growing nuclear threats”. 
He, however, also clarified that the process of bringing back US citizens detained in Iran is a “completely different” matter. Addressing the state briefing, Antony Blinken said, “Finally, last week we confirmed that Iranian authorities released five US citizens from prison to house arrest – Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, Emad Shargi, and two Americans who wish to remain private. Most have been in prison since before this administration took office. One has been held for nearly eight years. None should have been detained in the first place.”
The 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Iran curtail its nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, has been difficult for the US and Iran to resurrect.
The deal was scrapped by former US President Donald Trump in 2018, and Iran, which denies wanting to develop a nuclear weapon, has since accelerated its nuclear program.
Trump’s sanctions have continued to be enforced by the Biden administration, which has pledged to severely curtail Iran’s oil sales.
However, current US authorities continue to attribute the deadlock to the former US President, Donald Trump and his administration.

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