U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has established a task force to investigate how Western technology, including U.S. microelectronics, ended up in Iranian-made kamikaze drones that Russia has been using to attack Ukraine, CNN reported citing multiple officials.
According to the report, despite strict export control restrictions and sanctions aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining advanced materials, "evidence has emerged that suggests Iran is finding an abundance of commercially-available technology."
"Among the components found in some of the drones are processors built by the Dallas-based technology company Texas Instruments," CNN said, citing an investigation by the Armed Forces and a source familiar with the U.S. inquiry.
In November, Ukraine-based nonprofit StateWatch and Ukrainian civil society group Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO) published an investigation finding that Iranian-made Shahed drones, with the exception of the engine, consist entirely of foreign-made parts.
The nonprofit identified over 30 EU and U.S. companies whose parts have been used to manufacture Iranian kamikaze drones. The investigation showed the components included a "servo drive from the American Hitec USA Group, power elements from the Japanese Panasonic, and ceramic antenna from the Canadian Tallysman."
Canadian company Tallysman Wireless later confirmed that the company's products had been found in the Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.
Gyles Panther, the company's president, said Tallysman Wireless doesn't export its components to Iran or Russia, and its distribution network prohibits selling any products to sanctioned countries and individuals. He added that the company is now working with the Canada Border Services Agency and other government agencies to determine how the parts had made their way to Iran.
Russia has been using Iranian-made kamikaze drones to attack Ukraine since September, launching attacks against civilians and destroying energy infrastructure across the country.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Dec. 19 that Russia had received a new batch of 250 Iranian Shahed-136 drones.
The U.S., U.K., EU, and Canada have imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and companies involved in supplying Russia with drones.