The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has warned that any oil company unloading hundreds of thousands of barrels of seized Iranian oil sitting in a Greek tanker off the coast of Texas would be held accountable.
“We hereby declare that we would hold any oil company that sought to unload our crude from the vessel responsible and we also hold America responsible," Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said Thursday.
"The era of hit and run is over, and if they hit, they should expect to be struck back," he added.
Adm. Tangsiri's remarks came on the anniversary of Iran's confiscation of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in 2019 after Britain had seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar.
The confiscation came "in response to the maliciousness of the British, and when our ships went towards that tanker, the escort helicopter came above the tanker, which we warned that if it does not land, we will shoot it, which it complied, and after that an escorting warship also approached our waters, which we also warned, if it does not move away from the area, it will be targeted, and it also followed the order," he recalled.
"England has a lot of maliciousness and is more malicious than America," Tangsiri said.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that at least 800,000 barrels of seized Iranian oil remains untouched in US waters.
According to the paper, American firms are reluctant to buy the Iranian cargo, which is worth $56 million as they fear potential reprisals from Iran.
“Companies with any exposure whatsoever in the Persian Gulf are literally afraid to do it,” an executive involved in the matter told the outlet.
More people concerned with the issue have also told the daily that they don’t think the oil will ever be sold off.
All of the fuel is boarded on an oil tanker called Suez Rajan, which was seized by the US in April. The vessel was seized near southern Africa and anchored off the coast of Texas in May, while the Greek owner was charged with sanctions evasion.
A few days later, Iran's Navy seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, which was carrying Kuwaiti oil for the second largest energy company in the US
The oil tanker, named Advantage Sweet, had been involved in a maritime accident with an Iranian fishing craft, which resulted in the injury and missing of a number of its crew.
After the collision, the oil tanker attempted to flee the scene in serious breach of international laws and regulations, which require provision of medical treatment and supply of proper and sufficient medicine to seamen in case of sickness or injury.
The Iranian fishermen managed to issue a distress call long after recovering from the shock.
Washington has claimed to have hijacked oil tankers carrying Iranian oil several times, claiming that the ships had been flouting US sanctions.
The US usually auctions off Iran’s stolen assets, claiming it would use the money to pay “damages” to alleged victims of the Islamic Republic's actions.
Ministry: Cargo seized by Indonesia not Iranian
Meanwhile, Iran's oil ministry said the oil cargo of a supertanker seized by Indonesia last week does not belong to Tehran.
An oil ministry statement did not identify the owner of the cargo of MT Arman 114 which Indonesia's coast guard said on July 11 it had seized.
"Published news linking the cargo of this ship to ... Iran have no validity and this is done with the aim of creating a negative atmosphere against our country," the oil ministry statement said.
Iran's foreign ministry also criticized the United States for leading a proposal at the UN shipping agency's council to rescind Tehran's bid to host a maritime event in October.
"America's move ... proves that the political abuse of the United Nations' technical and specialized bodies has no limit for this country," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kana'ani said in a statement.