U.S. sanctions Iran over drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine

U.S. sanctions Iran over drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine

A drone flies over Kiev during an attack on October 17, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Friday announced a raft of new sanctions and additional measures targeting Iran’s aviation and defense sectors as Washington preemptively steps up its campaign against Tehran for supplying Moscow with weapons for its war against Ukraine.

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six executives and board members from Iran’s Qods Aviation Industry, the country’s top defense manufacturer, for producing unmanned aerial vehicles. Tehran has transferred UAVs to Russia for use on the battlefield across Ukraine, according to Treasury.

The administration also appointed Nader Khoon Siavash, director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization, for his work overseeing the country’s ballistic missile program. In addition, the Treasury also imposed sanctions on Qods Aviation Industry Chairman Seyed Hojatollah Ghoreishi, managing director Ghassem Damavandian, board members Hamidreza Sharifi-Tehrani, Reza Khaki, Majid Reza Niyazi-Angili and Vali Arlanizadeh.

“The Kremlin’s support of suppliers of last resort like Iran shows their desperation in the face of courageous Ukrainian resistance and the success of our global coalition in disrupting Russian military supply chains and denying them the inputs they need to replace weapons lost in the field of battle.” writes Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a release.

“The United States will act swiftly against individuals and entities that support Iran’s UAV and ballistic missile programs and will stand firmly in support of the people of Ukraine,” she added.

People walk past cars damaged during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 21, 2022.

Alexander Ermochenko | Reuters

In recent months, Moscow has carried out devastating missile and drone strikes against what Ukraine said were civilian targets, as well as critical infrastructure such as energy facilities. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it uses Iranian-made drones in Ukraine and that they target residential areas and other high civilian areas.

In a separate statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “Iran has now become Russia’s main military backer.”

“Iran must end its support for Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine, and we will continue to use every means at our disposal to impede and delay these transfers and impose costs on the actors involved in this activity.” , added the country’s chief diplomat.

Following the series of punitive drone strikes, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the 30-member alliance would send anti-drone equipment to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Kiev has invited United Nations experts to inspect what it says are downed Iranian drones in Ukraine.

Some members of the UN Security Council have argued that by providing drones to Russia, Iran has violated a 2015 resolution.

Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits the transfer of “all items, materials, equipment and goods and technology” from Iran to another country, unless approved in advance by the council on a case-by-case basis.

Tehran has rejected this claim.

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