The US has imposed new sanctions on firms and individuals allegedly involved in procuring equipment for Iran’s drone program.
The move is part of Washington’s ongoing efforts to crack down on Iran’s drone manufacturing and was announced by the US Department of the Treasury on Tuesday. Entities targeted by the sanctions were identified as acting on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) in Iran. The ministry oversees firms engaged in developing ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The latest round of sanctions came amid US officials’ accusations that Iran supplied Russia with drones during the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022. The European Union has also imposed sanctions on Iran’s drone industry. In response, Brian Nelson, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Treasury, said the US would continue to expose foreign procurement networks that support Iran’s military-industrial complex.
Those targeted in the latest sanctions include the Iran-based Defense Technology and Science Research Center, its procurement firm Farazan Industrial Engineering Inc, two other companies, and purchasing agents from these firms. The network procured “European-origin engines” for unmanned aerial vehicles, the Treasury Department said. The sanctions mean that the targeted entities will be denied access to any US property or financial assets held in the country, and US companies will also be prohibited from doing business with those identified.
The US has taken a number of actions in recent months to curb Iran’s drone manufacturing. In March, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a network of Chinese firms for procuring equipment supporting Iran’s drone program. In January, the US sanctioned seven individuals in leadership positions within Iranian drone production companies.
Iran has denied violating international law by selling drones without gaining approval from the United Nations Security Council, saying the criticism was rooted in fears that its drone program would become a competitor in global arms sales. Tehran also said it had not provided drones to Russia for use in Ukraine beyond “a limited number” of aerial explosives given to Moscow before the invasion. However, the US has accused Tehran of violating international law and using drones to destabilize the region.