The U.S. Treasury slapped new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary’s (IRGC) as well as the IRGC Quds Force drone network and its responsible commanders. Four IRGC commanders including Yousef Aboutalebi, Saeed Aghajani, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force UAV Command, Abdollah Mehrabi, and Mohammad Mohammad Ebrahim Zargar Tehrani were added to the sanctions list.
In addition to these individuals two companies relating to the regime’s destructive drone activities were also sanctioned:
KIMIA PART SIVAN COMPANY LLC is linked to the IRGC’s Quds Force and the OJE PARVAZ MADO NAFAR COMPANY is linked to the IRGC.
The US Treasury said in the sanctions statement:
“Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated members of a network of companies and individuals that have provided critical support to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the IRGC Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
“The IRGC-QF has used and proliferated lethal UAVs for use by Iran-supported groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, Kata’ib Hizballah, and the Houthis, and to Ethiopia, where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region. Lethal UAVs have been used in attacks on international shipping and on U.S. forces.”
The US Treasury emphasized that “Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts.”
The IRGC was placed on the sanctions list in part and in full in 2007 and 2017 according to several different executive orders, the last of which was on October 13, 2017, when the entirety of the IRGC was placed on the US sanctions list.
One of the regime’s central weapons for exporting terrorism and warmongering are drones, so over the past decade, the regime has invested heavily in drone production and has allocated a large budget despite a severe economic crisis.
Its foreign wing, the terrorist Quds Force group, is using the regime’s different drones to attack other countries in the region and destabilize them. The regime by this way is compensating its aerospace weakness with these drones, because since the start of its reign the regime was not able to create a war-effective air force, mostly because of its global sanctions.
The regime’s drone network consists of three parts:
- The UAV production sector, which is run by the regime’s Ministry of Defense
- The maintenance, use, and command of the UAV, which is carried out by the IRGC Air Force
- The use of drones, which is transferred by the Quds terrorist force to the regime’s proxy groups throughout the region.
To produce drones, the regime smuggles part of its main components, such as engines and electronic components, from outside sources and produces other parts domestically.
According to the information obtained, a total of eight industries are involved in the construction of drones in Iran.
Some of these industries are subsidiaries of the regime’s Ministry of Defense’s Air Industries Organization. Another part of these factories relates to the IRGC Air Force and other armed forces of the regime which are apparently non-governmental.
Each of these is responsible for building different parts of the drones and eventually mounting them together. These sanctions are important while the United States and European countries seek a new nuclear deal with the regime, particularly the sanctions those affiliated with the IRGC, which are the regime’s main pillars of repression and warmongering. This indicates that these countries will not obey the regime’s blackmailing.
That is because the regime is trying to take more concessions from the international community and is seeking that the sanctions will be lifted.
As we witnessed that the regime’s foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, angry about the new U.S. Treasury sanctions on its drone program said:
“The imposition of new sanctions reflects the White House’s completely contradictory behavior. The U.S. government says it intends to return to the JCPOA but continues the same approach as the previous administration in imposing sanctions. America is not really trustworthy by sending this message. The U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, including four individuals and entities.”