US sanctions Iranian companies for selling drones to Russia to invade Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it is imposing sanctions on four Iranian companies it says sent drones to Russia last month to use in Moscow’s war against Ukraine.

Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services, Paravar Pars Company, Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines and Baharestan Kish Company were all affected by the new sanctions.

“Russia is making increasingly desperate decisions to continue its unprovoked war on Ukraine, particularly in the face of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls,” said Brian Nelson, Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “The United States is committed to strict enforcement of our sanctions against Russia and Iran and accountability to Iran and those who support Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Safiran coordinated Russian military flights between Iran and Russia for several days last month, including flights that US intelligence officials say transported Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles, personnel and related equipment from Iran to Russia.

Closely affiliated with Iran’s powerful Imam Hossein University, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, Paravar Pars Company has been involved in the research, development and production of Iran’s Shahed-171 UAV. Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines is an Iranian company involved in the research, development and production of the Iranian UAV Shahed-171. The Baharestan Kish Company oversees various defense-related projects in Iran, including the manufacture of UAVs.

The Biden administration said last week Russia is experiencing technical problems with Iranian-made drones it acquired from Tehran in August. Russian officials picked up Mohajer-6 and Shahed series unmanned aerial vehicles on several days in the past month, according to the White House. The Biden administration says US intelligence officials have determined that Russia is looking to acquire hundreds of Iranian UAVs for use in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon confirmed that US intelligence agencies have determined that Russia is also in the process of buying missiles and artillery shells from North Korea for its ongoing fight in Ukraine.

The US has frequently downgraded and made public intelligence intelligence during the course of the grueling war in Ukraine to highlight Moscow’s war-fighting difficulties. Ukraine’s smaller military has put up a fierce resistance to militarily superior Russian forces.

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