The Trump administration has reportedly confiscated four Iranian cargo ships believed to be carrying fuel in violation of US sanctions.
The US seized the four ships without using military force in recent days as tensions have risen between the White House and Tehran, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The vessels — named the Bering, Bella, Luna and Pandi — are currently rerouted, heading to Houston, where White House officials will await their arrival, sources told the paper.
Fuel tankers in the Persian Gulf region have become targets after the US in 2018 withdrew from the countries’ 2015 nuclear deal.
The Trump administration has blamed Iran for suspected limpet mine attacks on several tankers and, earlier Thursday, called out the country for seizing a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in international waters in the Gulf of Oman.
The US last month sought a federal court’s approval to seize four Iranian fuel tankers headed to Venezuela, according to the Journal.
The move would have hurt two adversaries — blocking fuel to Venezuela and revenue for Iran — as the Trump administration tries to pressure Iran into inking a new nuclear deal.
It’s unclear if those four ships were the same vessels that were seized this week.