Iran Officials Deny Knowledge of US-Seized ‘Iranian Oil’

US claimed complicated path in court whereby oil was 'Iranian'

The US Justice Department is angling for a summary judgment in court allowing them to sell seized Iranian oil from a certain Liberian-flagged tanker. Iran has reacted with surprise, and Oil Ministry officials are shrugging and asking in what way it’s their oil.

The seized tanker Achilleas picked up 2 million barrels of oil off the UAE port of Fujairah. The tanker was hired by Fujairah International Oil and Gas to take it to China, where it was identified as being Iraqi oil.

Achilleas got the oil in a tanker-to-tanker transfer from Panama-flagged Trident Liberty, which got it from the Cook Islands’ Lubov, which got it from the Iran-flagged Sarak, which the US claimed got it from Iran’s Sirri Island.

If all that is true, this would make it Iranian oil, but it’s downright puzzling that it came out of UAE waters, from a UAE company-hired tanker, with the wrongly identified oil.

It’s not clear how the US got the ship, which is now in Brazil. If the court gives them permission, they would send to the Gulf of Mexico to sell.

Whether this is Iraqi oil that got mislabeled and subsequently seized by the US, or was Iranian oil, the Iranians certainly aren’t admitting to it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.