US Seeks Court Approval to Seize Iranian Gasoline Tankers

Claims involvement of businessman entitles US to seize tankers

US federal prosecutors are arguing to a DC court that four Iranian tankers full of gasoline, en route to Venezuela, should be seized by the United States by way of civil forfeiture. The ships contain 1.1 million barrels of gasoline.

The legal basis for the move is a claim by the US that Iranian businessman Mahmoud Madanipour was in some minor way involved, and as such the whole of the tankers, and gasoline, are valid to seize because he’s accused of ties with the Revolutionary Guards.

The Trump Administration doesn’t want Iran to sell gasoline, doesn’t want Venezuela to buy gasoline, and seems to be ready to jump through legal hoops to stop the one doing business with the other. Previous efforts haven’t been as lucrative as the administration may have hoped, however.

A ship the US previously seized on the same grounds was ultimately let go, after federal marshals tried to auction off the gasoline on it, and no one met the minimum bid.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of