| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

US targets Iran UAV program with sanctions

Citing concerns that it uses the technology to cause havoc in the region and in East Africa, the United States has implemented a series of sanctions which seem to directly target Iran’s unmanned combat drone program
The US Treasury this week slapped sanctions on Iranian Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) figure who heads the unit’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) command. The sanctions also hit two companies which develop the Iranian drones and provide components to them – Kimia Part Sivan and Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar.
Tehran’s combat drone program is the main target of the Treasury’s sanctions, with Aghajani being said to be the figure behind the attack on a Saudi oil facility in 2019 and the attack on a commercial ship off the coast of Oman in July this year.
In its announcement of the sanctions, the Treasury directly referred to and condemned Iran’s supply of drones – albeit lower quality ones – to its proxy groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. It also stated that Iranian UAVs have been seen in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, “where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region.”
According to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, “Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international peace and stability.” He added that the US Treasury “will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts.”
Last month, Israel accused the IRGC of providing UAV training to its militia groups near the Iranian city of Isfahan. More recently, Iranian drones were reportedly responsible for the attack on the US’s Al-Tanf military base in eastern Syria this week.
Back in June this year, Iran also claimed that its drones have a long-range of 7,000 kilometres, far enough to reach states in the region and beyond, including Israel.