US Seized Iranian Gasoline, But Legal Battle Ensues on If They Can Sell It

Justice Dept argued that the gas belonged to Revolutionary Guards, was bound for Venezuela

Described by the Justice Department as the largest fuel shipment from Iran ever taken, the US is slowly shipping the gasoline up the coast to New Jersey. Officials want to sell it, but that’s a legal issue that the Justice Department has yet to sort out.

Four gasoline tankers were seized by the US, to prevent delivery to Venezuela. The way the administration figures it, it’s Iranian gas, so it belongs to the Revolutionary Guards, which gives them a license to take it and sell it.

The actual owners of the gasoline disagree, saying they own the gasoline, not Iran, and that the US can’t just take it. The US has just taken it, to be clear, but they have to get through court to be allowed to sell it.

Evidence of where the gas came from and where it’s going doesn’t seem cut and dried, and the US seems to have bet on no one challenging this if they made the accusation publicly. The legal battle could be expensive and likely will cost more than the gasoline is worth, but those who seized it got to brag about the biggest ever seizure for awhile.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of