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September 8, 2022 3:41 pm

Treasury Department Sanctions Iranian Firm Over Drone Shipments to Russia

avatar by Andrew Bernard

Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 4, 2021. Picture taken January 4, 2021. Photo: Iranian Army / WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

The US Treasury Department on Thursday announced that it is sanctioning an Iranian company for shipping unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services (Safiran) has coordinated Russian military flights between Iran and Russia, including those associated with transporting Iranian UAVs, personnel, and related equipment from Iran to Russia,” the Treasury Department said. “Information also indicates that after assembly and testing, the Russian Aerospace Forces intend to deploy Iranian UAVs alongside Russian UAVs in their war against Ukraine.”

On August 30, White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said that Russia had received Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series drones from Iran earlier in August, after Iran launched large-scale exercises to test their weaponry and reconnaissance capabilities.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov described reports that Russia had procured drones from Iran as “bogus.”

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The Pentagon has previously said that Russia is seeking to procure arms from Iran and North Korea, indicative of the challenges that Russia faces in sustaining its war effort.

“Russia is making increasingly desperate choices to continue its unprovoked war against Ukraine, particularly in the face of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, in announcing the sanctions against Safiran.

The Treasury Department on Thursday also announced sanctions against three Iranian companies and one Iranian individual for the production and procurement of drones and related equipment for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The announcements comes as Iran and Western powers struggle to reach a deal over the country’s nuclear weapons program.

The two sides were reportedly near a “final” offer earlier this month, but negotiations have since slowed significantly, American and Israeli officials said.

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