As Iran’s oil exports rise despite U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program, senators from both parties urged President Joe Biden to enable a federal government agency to seize Iranian oil and gas shipments.
Senators Joni Ernst, a Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, said in a letter to Biden that the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office has not been able to seize an Iranian oil shipment for more than a year.
HSI’s enforcement has been curtailed by policy limitations within the Department of Treasury’s Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture, the senators said in the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since the activation of HSI’s enforcement program in 2019, it has seized nearly $228 million in Iranian crude and fuel oil linked to Iran’s Quds Force, the foreign espionage and paramilitary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the senators said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes while the United States suspects Tehran wants to develop a nuclear bomb by enriching uranium.
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