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US sanctions Iranian drone producers

by Abbey Fenbert October 19, 2023 1:42 AM 2 min read
An Iranian-made Mohajer 6 drone on display in Tehran on Aug. 23, 2023 in Tehran. (Atta Kenare / AFP via Getty Images)
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The United States imposed sanctions against 11 individuals and eight entities connected with Iran's drone program, including those responsible for producing drones used in Russia's war against Ukraine, the U.S. Treasury Department announced on Oct. 18.

The U.S. sanctioned the Iran-based Sarmad Electronic Sepahan Company for producing components used in Mohajer-6 drones, which Russian forces have used against Ukraine.

Mohajer-6 drones are long-range weapons that can travel up to 200 kilometers. They can conduct intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat operations, and are able to carry two missiles under each wing.

The sanctions list also included the Iranian official Seyed Hojatollah Ghoreishi, who the Treasury Department said acted on behalf of Iran's Defense Ministry to negotiate the provision of drones to Russia in 2022.

“Iran’s reckless choice to continue its proliferation of destructive UAVs and other weapons prolongs numerous conflicts in regions around the world,” said Brian E. Nelson, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The U.S. declared a round of sanctions against entities connected to the production of Iranian-made Shahed drones in September 2023.  The new penalties aimed to curb sanctions evasion by international companies shipping drone components to Iran.

The actors sanctioned in the Oct. 18 round are based in Iran, Hong Kong, and China.

"As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities named above...that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked," the Treasury Deparment report said.

Russia relies heavily on Iranian-made drones and drones imported from China, and has recently begun domestic production of attack drones based on Iranian models.

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