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US sanctions Iranian company for providing drones to Russia

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army's official website on Sept. 11, 2020, shows an Iranian Simorgh drone during the second day of a military exercise in the Gulf, near the strategic strait of Hormuz in southern Iran. (Iranian Army office/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
September 09, 2022

The U.S. Treasury is sanctioning an Iranian company charged with shipping drones to Russia for use in that country’s war against Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has resorted to seeking weapons from North Korea and Iran as his military struggles to find arms and technology to sustain its invasion after being blocked from purchasing those items from Western countries and manufacturers.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services, which it said has coordinated Russian military flights between Iran and Russia, including those that transported drones and related equipment along with the people who know how to operate them. Treasury’s contention is that the Russian Air Force plans to use the Iranian drones alongside its own in Ukraine.

“Russia is making increasingly desperate choices to continue its unprovoked war against Ukraine,” Brian E. Nelson, Treasury’s under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement. “The United States is committed to strictly enforcing our sanctions against both Russia and Iran and holding accountable Iran and those supporting Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Treasury is also sanctioning three companies and one individual involved in researching and developing drone technology for Iran’s military forces. The companies are Paravar Pars Company, Baharestan Kish Company and the Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines, or DAMA, company. The individual is Rehmatollah Heidari, the managing director of the Baharestan Kish Company.

“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,” Nelson said, using the acronym for unmanned aerial vehicles.

During a visit Thursday to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “It’s gotten to a point where Moscow is now seeking military assistance from North Korea and Iran, as we have systematically choked off their access points elsewhere.”


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