3D models of Iranian missiles and a drone are being placed under an anti-Israeli placard in the Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque during the 31st edition of the International Holy Quran Exhibition in the holy month of Ramadan, in downtown Tehran, Iran, on March 27, 2024. REUTERS./

By Daphne Psaledakis

 – The U.S. on Friday issued sanctions targeting entities it accused of enabling Iran‘s drone program, in Washington’s latest action seeking to disrupt the production and proliferation of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia against Ukraine.

“Today’s action reinforces our commitment to disrupt Iran’s production and proliferation of deadly UAVs that continue to be used by Russia against Ukraine and by regional terrorist proxies against our troops,” U.S. Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.

“Treasury will continue to impose costs on those who seek to procure the components Iran needs for its UAV programs and enable the shipment of these weapons to destabilizing actors around the world.”

EU to Sanction 9 Iranian Entities for Supplying Drones to Russia, Including Defence Minister

Iran has supplied thousands of Shahed kamikaze drones to Russia throughout its invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022. They have been used to exhaust Ukrainian air defences and hit infrastructure far from the front lines.

The Treasury said it imposed sanctions on four entities that have procured critical parts for Iran‘s drone program as well as an executive of Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), a subsidiary of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

The Treasury said Afshin Khajeh Fard, the chief of IAIO, oversees its efforts to produce drones and missiles.

Friday’s action freezes any of their U.S. assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those that engage in certain transactions with them also risk being hit with sanctions.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Susan Heavey and Katharine Jackson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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