Iran, via its defence minister, warned that the Islamic Republic is fully capable of retaliating “on a larger scale” in due time, according to Iranian news network Press TV.

The move comes after US Department of Justice confirmed on September 8 that it had seized the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Suez Rayan and its cargo of more than 980,000 barrels.

The US government seized the allegedly Iranian oil, that was bound for another country. 

The US Justice Department claimed that on April 19, Suez Rajan Limited pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

On that same date, in accordance with the statement released by the US Justice Department on September 8, the company was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols to three years of corporate probation and a fine of almost $2.5 million.

In a first reaction from Iran, as reported by Press TV, the country’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, stated that “this is an act of theft by the United States, which is not acceptable across the world whatsoever. If Washington goes ahead with stealing the Iranian oil cargo, we will definitely retaliate, and we can react on a larger scale.”

It’s worth noting that Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy seized two foreign oil tankers smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf waters last Friday.

According to Iranian news network Press TV, the deputy Commander of the IRGC’s Third Naval Zone, Mohammad Sharif Shirali, identified the vessels as Panama and Tanzania-flagged tankers, adding that their seizure took place upon judicial order. Some 1.5 million liters of fuel were confiscated during this operation.

The IRGC’s naval forces managed to “guide the seized tankers to Bandar-e Mahshahr and Arvand base”, and handed over the 37 crew members who were on board the vessels to the legal authorities, Shirali said.