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New US sanctions on Iran for shipping drones to Russia

The US announced new sanctions on Thursday on an Iranian company for being involved with shipping drones to Russia as well as three Iranian companies working on drone production for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its air force and navy.

Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services (Safiran) was accused of coordinating Russian military flights between Iran and Russia, including those associated with transporting Iranian drones, personnel, and related equipment from Iran to Russia. “Information also indicates that after assembly and testing, the Russian Aerospace Forces intend to deploy Iranian UAVs alongside Russian UAVs in their war against Ukraine,” the Treasury Department said.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said the US was committed to enforcing sanctions against Russian and Iran as well as holding accountable those who support Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Russia is making increasingly desperate choices to continue its unprovoked war against Ukraine, particularly in the face of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls,” he said.

Nelson warned that the Biden administration would not hesitate to target other producers and procurers who help Iran’s drone program. “Non-Iranian, non-Russian entities should also exercise great caution to avoid supporting either the development of Iranian UAVs or their transfer, or sale of any military equipment to Russia for use against Ukraine,” he said.

The other three companies were Paravar Pars Company, which the US says is closely associated with IRGC-controlled Imam Hossein University, Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines (DAMA), and Baharestan Kish Company.

“In the past, the IRGC ASF distributed US and Israeli-made UAVs to Paravar Pars Company, which were ultimately used to reverse engineer and reproduce indigenously made UAV models,” the Treasury Department said.

DAMA has been involved in the research, development, and production of the Iranian Shahed-171 UAV program, which is owned by the IRGC’s air force, according to the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department accused DAMA of being a front company used for “covert procurement activities” for Iran’s Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA), which is affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

Baharestan Kish Company and its managing director, Rehmatollah Heidari, were designated for overseeing various defense-related projects, including the manufacturing of Iranian drones.

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