The United States has imposed sanctions on an Iranian air transport company it accused of coordinating military flights to transport drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced the sanctions on September 8, saying it also designated three companies it said were involved in the development and production of Iranian drones.

The department named Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services as the company it says coordinated flights between Iran and Russia that shipped drones, personnel, and related equipment.

The three companies designated are Paravar Pars Company, Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines (DAMA), and Baharestan Kish Company. They are accused of being involved in the research, development, production, and procurement of Iranian drones, including the Shahed series.

The Treasury Department singled out the Paravar Pars Company for involvement in the reverse engineering of U.S.- and Israeli-made drones. It also designated Baharestan Kish Company’s managing director, Rehmatollah Heidari, who is also a member of its board of directors.

U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russia is looking to acquire hundreds of Iranian drones for use in Ukraine.

The Biden administration said last week that Russia had faced technical problems with Iranian-made drones that were acquired from Tehran in August.

Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement that the Treasury Department “is committed to strictly enforcing our sanctions against both Russia and Iran and holding accountable Iran and those supporting Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

He said Russia was making “increasingly desperate choices to continue its unprovoked war against Ukraine, particularly in the face of our unprecedented sanctions and export controls.”

The United States will not hesitate to target producers and procurers who contribute to Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ drone program, he added.

The sanctions freeze any assets the companies and the individual may hold in the United States and generally bar all dealings by people in the U.S. that involve their property.

The sanctions come as indirect talks between Iran and the United States have made little progress toward reviving a 2015 deal that put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions.

Source » rferl