US Imposes New Sanctions on Iran, Targeting Drones and Commodity Shipments

The , in coordination with the and , has issued new sanctions on , targeting Iranian drones, their use by in the war in , and the shipment of Iranian commodities. The U.S. Treasury Department accused over a dozen entities, individuals, and vessels of facilitating and financing the clandestine sale of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), reports Reuters.

Sanctions Target Iran's Drone Program and Support for Russia

The Treasury Department stated that MODAFL supports Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Russia's war in Ukraine. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, emphasized Iran's destabilizing activities, including its support for Russia, an unprecedented attack on , and the proliferation of UAVs and other dangerous military hardware to terrorist proxies.

The sanctions specifically targeted Sahara Thunder, a main front company that oversees MODAFL's commercial activities in support of the IRGC and Russia's war in Ukraine. Sahara Thunder plays a key role in Iran's design, development, manufacture, and sale of thousands of drones, many of which are ultimately transferred to Russia for use against Ukraine.

According to the Treasury, as of 2022, Russian officials were negotiating a deal for Sahara Thunder to deliver and produce thousands of drones per year at a facility in Russia that is under U.S. sanctions.

Sanctions Extend to Shipping Network and Iranian Commodities

In addition to targeting Sahara Thunder's leadership, the sanctions also encompassed the company's shipping network, which is relied upon for the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities on behalf of MODAFL to jurisdictions including , Russia, and Venezuela.

An Iran-based company involved in the procurement and development of UAVs, its leadership, and an Iranian cargo airline were also among those hit with sanctions.

Recent Tensions and U.S. Response

The new sanctions come in the wake of Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel earlier this month. The U.S. had warned of further sanctions following the attack and has since taken measures targeting Iran's drone program, steel industry, and cyber actors.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles against Israel in retaliation for a suspected Israeli air strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 11 that killed elite military officers.

Us Imposes New Sanctions On Iran, Targeting Drones And Commodity Shipments 1

The latest U.S. sanctions on Iran, implemented in coordination with the UK and Canada, aim to combat the financing of Iran's destabilizing activities, particularly its support for Russia's war in Ukraine and its attack on Israel. By targeting entities and individuals involved in the sale and shipment of Iranian drones and commodities, the U.S. seeks to ratchet up pressure on Tehran and curtail its destabilizing influence in the region and beyond.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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