The US imposes new sanctions against Iran, this time targeting an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles manufacturer under the unsubstantiated and disproven pretext that the Islamic Republic has provided Russia with the UAVs to be used by Moscow against Ukraine.
The United States Treasury Department slapped the sanctions on Friday against six executives and board members of Iran’s Quds Aviation Industries (QAI).
It described the targeted body as a key Iranian defense industry manufacturer responsible for designing and producing drones.
The Islamic Republic has, on repeated occasions, roundly rejected Washington’s allegations.
Last month, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said Ukrainian officials had failed to provide any evidence for their claim that Russia was using Iranian drones in its February-present war on Ukraine
Speaking following a technical meeting between Ukrainian and Iranian specialists, he said the Ukrainian side had stopped short of “presenting any evidence” during the meeting “of Russia’s use of Iranian drones in the war with this country.”
A month earlier, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had also reacted to the US and other Western countries’ allegations, noting that Iran had provided Russia with a limited number of drones, but the delivery had taken place months before the war in Ukraine.
On another occasion in October, the top diplomat had likewise responded to the Western claims by asserting, “We have not sold and will not sell any weapons and drones to be used in the war against Ukraine.”
Russia has similarly denied deploying any Iranian UAVs in the war against Ukraine.
The US Treasury Department, however, alleged, “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to deny [Russian President Vladimir] Putin the weapons that he is using….”
The Friday sanctions also targeted the director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization, which the Treasury claimed, was the key organization responsible for overseeing Iran’s ballistic missile programs.
In July 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US was planning a sanctions campaign against Iran’s defensive drones and guided missiles program, six months after the administration of President Joe Biden was sworn in.
Citing unnamed US officials, the daily said the sanctions were aimed at disrupting the development of Iran’s weapons program, which, the Islamic Republic has invariably defined as a purely defensive program, which does not pose any threat to any foreign country.