WASHINGTON — The US Justice Department revealed Friday that it disrupted a multimillion-dollar shipment of crude oil being smuggled to China in violation of US sanctions on Iran.
The case involving the Suez Rajan, which federal authorities confiscated in April and redirected toward the United States, came amid wider tensions with Iran over its nuclear program and detention of American citizens.
The 12-year-old Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, which was loaded with some 980,000 barrels of Iranian crude, was for months moored off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The vessel was unloaded in August after members of Congress questioned whether threats by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps prevented its discharge.
A senior commander in the IRGC navy said in July that Tehran would retaliate against any shipping company that offloaded the Suez Rajan’s cargo. Fearing possible reprisal, American shipping companies were reportedly reluctant to transfer the oil.