The US Treasury Department said on Friday it imposed sanctions on a network of entities and individuals, including a top commander, in connection with Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program.
In a statement, the department claimed the targeted companies and individuals were providing critical support to the UAV programs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the IRGC Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
The Treasury said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Saeed Aghajani, the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force (IRGC ASF) UAV Command.
"The IRGC-QF has used and proliferated lethal UAVs for use by Iran-supported groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, Kata’ib Hizballah, and the Houthis, and to Ethiopia, where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region," it said. "Lethal UAVs have been used in attacks on international shipping and on US forces."
Other individuals and entities included IRGC Brigadier General Abdollah Mehrabi, the chief of the IRGC ASF Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization (SSJO), who has procured UAV engines for the organization from Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company, an entity he co-owns and for which he has served as chairman, the Treasury said.
Mado Company and its managing director Yousef Aboutalebi have procured UAV engines for the IRGC Navy and entities supporting weapons development for the Iranian military, including Iran’s Qods Aviation Industries (QAI) and Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA), which is a US-sanctioned company that has provided UAVs to the IRGC, it added.
Sanctions also included Kimia Part Sivan Company (KIPAS), an Iran-based company that has worked with Iran’s IRGC-QF to improve the force’s UAV program, said the Treasury, adding KIPAS officials have conducted UAV flight tests for the IRGC-QF and have provided technical assistance to IRGC-QF UAVs transferred to Iraq for use in IRGC-QF operations.
It said KIPAS has procured valuable UAV components for onward use by the IRGC, and Mohammad Ebrahim Zargar Tehrani has helped KIPAS source these components from companies outside of Iran.
"Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international peace and stability. Iran and its proxy militants have used UAVs to attack US forces, our partners, and international shipping," Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.