GALVESTON, TX – The Biden administration imported a rare cargo of 1.033 million barrels of Iranian crude in March despite sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed.
The cargo is only the second oil import by the United States from Iran since late 1991.
A cargo of 1.033 million barrels of #Iranian crude oil landed on #US shores in March, data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows, the second shipment of Iranian oil to be imported into the United States since 1991.https://t.co/jFZXqAf8o1
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) June 1, 2021
In 2020, the Trump administration imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Iran’s oil sector as tensions between Washington and Tehran continued to escalate in the days leading up to the American presidential election.
Sanctions were placed on Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company, and its oil-tanker subsidiary for providing financial support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite military unit that is designated as a terrorist group by the United States.
The Treasury Department also penalized multiple front companies, subsidiaries, and executives affiliated with those organizations, including Iran’s petroleum minister, Bijan N. Zanganeh.
Then-Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said:
“(Iran) uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilizing activities of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, adding that Iranian leaders continue to prioritize its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people.”
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) June 3, 2021
Iran called the sanctions an “addiction” of the United States. Iranian spokesman Alireza Miryousefi said:
“The U.S.’s hostility towards the Iranian people has no limit. The U.S. is sanctioning Iranian entities that have already been sanctioned under another phony charge. However, the U.S.’s addiction to sanctions has not paid off.”
President Biden, who was a presidential candidate at the time, said he would look into re-entering the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that Trump withdrew from in 2018.
The U.S. imported a rare cargo of 1.033 million barrels of #Iran crude in March despite sanctions, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed. The cargo is only the second oil import by the U.S. from Iran since late 1991. #OOTT🧐https://t.co/UmEbWXp2lr
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) May 31, 2021
Pundits said that Trump enacted a wide range of sanctions against Iran before leaving office, specifically to make it difficult for Biden to undo all of them when he was voted in. Brian O’Toole, a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, told the New York Times:
“It makes it more politically perilous for Biden. Essentially, The U.S. is giving up a lot more than Iran is giving up is how it will be pitched by the Republicans.”
The new oil shipment accepted by the Biden administration was reportedly off-loaded in Galveston, Texas in March.
The cargo was registered in the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released late last week for the month following the seizure by U.S. authorities of the Liberian-flagged tanker Achilleas, which was transporting Iranian crude.
“The EIA gave no other details on the Iranian cargo, and the agency could not be reached for comment outside of U.S. office hours. Monday is a holiday in the United States.
“Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed that the Achilleas discharged its cargo at the U.S. Gulf port of Galveston in March.”
The #US imported crude oil from #Iran in March, according to @EIAgov. Reuters reports it was only the second Iranian oil import since 1991. It’s unclear how/if this import circumvented US sanctions on Iran’s energy sector. pic.twitter.com/KTnb9vBn5Q
— Joseph Haboush (@jhaboush) May 31, 2021
President Biden has said he wants to re-enter the Iran Nuclear Deal and take steps toward improving the U.S./Iranian relationship.
The administration is weighing unfreezing $1 billion in Iranian funds that the country could use for “humanitarian relief,” amid the negotiations for the U.S. to reenter the deal and bring Iran back into compliance with its terms.
Former President Trump gave a rare post-term speech on June 5, 2021, at Greenville, North Carolina’s annual state Republican Party convention, where he called blasted the President’s handling of Iran.
Trump called Biden’s shrinking of Iranian sanctions “craven” and said he was “said” to see what the administration was doing. Trump said:
“Biden cravenly lifted sanctions on Iran. Oh, Iran. Oh. I would have had a deal in one week. One week. I even told them. I said, ‘You know what? Let’s get the election over with and we’ll make a deal.’ It would have been a great deal. Now, they’re actually asking for money.
“Biden’s also beholden to America’s enemies and so beholden, nobody’s ever seen anything, that he actually criticized Israel while the Jewish homeland was under attack by thousands and thousands of rockets and missiles launched by Iran. It was launched by Iran.”
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Report: Iranian terrorists claim to have active cells in DC and other U.S. cities
March 5, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.- According to chatter in online forums used by Iranian militia groups, they are claiming to have active cells of operatives stationed in Washington, D.C. and other U.S. cities across the country.
U.S. officials believe Iran-backed group responsible for latest rocket attack in Iraq https://t.co/tpj6o9UCVZ
— MSN (@MSN) March 4, 2021
A copy of the English-language posting captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which tracks radical groups, the Kawtheryoon Electronic Team, a Telegram network used by Iranian militia groups and supporters has claimed in a recent posting that:
“Iranian resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital.”
The group also claimed that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support than ever before. The group proceeded to demand that the United States withdrawal all of its troops from Iraq and the Middle East.
Their post included a picture of caskets containing U.S. soldiers. Reportedly, the threat comes as the new Biden administration seeks to directly engage Iran in pursuit of inking a revamped nuclear accord.
Despite these diplomatic overtures, Iran has continued to sponsor terrorism and while the State Department has called on Iran to cease its terror operations, Tehran shows no sign of backing down from its active operations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other Middle Easter hotspots.
Tehran also has continued to support strikes on U.S. personnel stationed in Iraq and was likely behind a recent rocket attack on an Iraqi base that houses American troops.
The militant group also threatened Israel and promised reprisals for the U.S. attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike authorized by former President Donald Trump.
BREAKING – Pentagon: US launches airstrikes in Syria targeting facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in retaliation for rocket attack in Iraq. https://t.co/mxupZFR6Fq
— News12CT (@News12CT) February 26, 2021
On Wednesday, March 3rd, there was a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base that hosts U.S. troops. Politico reported that U.S. and Iraqi officials believe that an Iran-backed group with a history of targeting Americans in Iraq is responsible for the attack.
According to two defense officials familiar with the early intelligence, officials believe that Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed paramilitary force or an affiliated group was responsible for the attack.
The investigation is still ongoing and both of the defense officials requested anonymity when discussing the intelligence. A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East has reportedly declined to offer an immediate comment.
— Benjamin Weinthal (@BenWeinthal) March 5, 2021
The day after the attack, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said on CNN that to his knowledge, the attack was carried out by Iran’s “surrogates in the region.” He added:
“They have given them green lights to make these types of attacks. There have to be consequences for that.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) also blamed Tehran for the attack, saying it had “all the hallmarks for the Iran-backed militias.” He added by tweeting:
“The Iranian regime seems intent on attacking Americans at the same time the Biden admin wants to give Tehran sanctions relief.”
Tehran Claims to Have Active Cells in DC… https://t.co/CDNQhpSKIC
— PeterS (@PS641600) March 4, 2021
The Biden administration has yet to publicly blame Tehran for the latest attack, which came just days after U.S. fighter jets bombed military positions used by Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups in easter Syria. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement:
“We cannot attribute responsibility at this time and we do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage.”
Kirby urged caution following this latest attack, but said the U.S. would respond if necessary. He said in a statement:
“Let’s let our Iraqi partners investigate. If a response is warranted, I think we have shown clearly that we won’t shy away from that.”
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