US slaps sanctions on figures linked to Iranian drones

The US is imposing sanctions on seven people and four companies in China, Russia and Turkey who officials allege are connected with the development of Iran’s drone program.

The US accuses Iran of supplying Russia with drones used to bomb Ukrainian civilians as the Kremlin continues its invasion of Ukraine. At least one person was killed in a barrage of Shahed drones attacking Lviv in western Ukraine earlier Tuesday, Ukraine said.

Iran’s “continued, deliberate proliferation” of its drone program enables Russia “and other destabilizing actors to undermine global stability,” says Brian E. Nelson, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence

The parties sanctioned by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control include: An Iranian drone company previously sanctioned in 2008, now doing business as Shahin Co., its managing executives, a group of Russian parts manufacturers and two Turkish money exchangers, Mehmet Tokdemir and Alaaddin Aykut.

Treasury says the action builds on a set of sanctions it issued last March, when Treasury sanctioned 39 firms linked to an alleged shadow banking system that helped to obfuscate financial activity between sanctioned Iranian firms and their foreign buyers, namely for petrochemicals produced in Iran.

Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the State Department says the US “will continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt these efforts and will work with Allies and partners to hold Iran accountable for its actions.”

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi denied his country had sent drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine Monday.

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