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Biden Admin Won’t Let Authorities Seize Sanctioned Iranian Oil Tankers

Iranian navy ship / Wikimedia Commons
Iranian navy ship / Wikimedia Commons

The Biden administration is blocking authorities from seizing ships carrying sanctioned Iranian oil, a move lawmakers say helps fund the hardline regime's terrorist activities.

The Department of Homeland Security says it has been unable to seize tankers carrying sanctioned oil for a year, thanks to "policy limitations" enacted by the Treasury Department. This has contributed to the 35 percent increase in Iranian oil exports over the past year, according to a bipartisan group of lawmakers demanding the Biden administration rectify its contradictory approach.

"United States sanctions should be enforced to the fullest extent of the law," a group of 12 senators led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), wrote to President Joe Biden in April. "As Iranian oil sales continue to rise, and the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] continues to target U.S. citizens and service members, including inside the U.S., it is imperative that we use all available government assets to limit the activities of the Iranian regime."

The bipartisan support for the letter signals that members of both parties are increasingly frustrated by the Biden administration’s soft approach towards Tehran. Iran has sold nearly $50 billion worth of oil since the Biden administration took office and began relaxing sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s illicit oil trade as part of efforts to cajole the hardline regime into inking a new nuclear deal.

Crude oil is a primary source of revenue for Iran’s hardline regime, fundings its massive regional terrorism enterprise helmed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a paramilitary fighting force that has killed hundreds of Americans.

Related Story: Despite Sanctions, Iran’s Oil Exports Hit New Highs in 2022 and 2023

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