The Trump administration plans to use proceeds from the sale of fuel confiscated from Iranian tankers to benefit victims of terrorism, officials announced Thursday.
The U.S. government in August seized 1.1 million barrels of fuel from four Iranian tankers that were en route to Venezuela. The fuel has since been sold, and officials say the proceeds will go to a special fund for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.
The money “will now go to a far better use than either regime, Iran or Venezuela, could have envisioned because it will provide relief for victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of such acts,” said Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s special representative for Iran and Venezuela.
“So that is both poetic and tangible justice,” he added.
The U.S. estimates that it will be able to recoup some $40 million from the sale, and a “great portion” of that sum will be directed to the terrorism fund, said Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
A separate forfeiture complaint from the Justice Department centers on Iranian guided missile parts that the U.S. Navy seized over the past year from flagless vessels in the Arabian Sea. Officials say the cargo was intended for militant groups in Yemen.