US shuts websites for shipping Iranian oil to Venezuela
US AUTHORITIES have seized three websites that they say were used as a front for illegal Iranian oil shipments to Venezuela worth millions of dollars.
The Justice Department alleged that Mohammad Madanipour, an Iranian businessman, used front companies Mobin International, Sohar Fuel, and Oman Fuel to arrange the shipment of more than a million barrels of petroleum from Iran to Venezuela on four cargo vessels this year.
The US intercepted the oil shipment last month and seized the cargo from all four vessels.
The confiscation represents the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran, while the websites now display a page noting control by the US government.
Iran’s economy has cratered since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, worsened by the historic fall in oil prices this year.
The Middle Eastern country is running a budget deficit close to 50pc, and suffers from high unemployment rate and double-digit inflation.