The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four entities and three individuals in Iran and Türkiye for their involvement in purchasing equipment, including European-origin drone engines, to support Iran’s drone and weapons programs.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that the equipment supply network operates on behalf of the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Support.
These sanctions are the latest that Washington has taken as part of its targeting of the drone industry in Iran.
The United States earlier this month imposed sanctions on a China-based network, accusing it of shipping aircraft parts to an Iranian company involved in producing drones that Tehran used to attack oil tankers and exported to Russia.
“Iran’s well-documented deployment of drones and conventional weapons to its proxies undermines regional security and global stability,” Brian Nelson, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sanctions list included the Iranian Defense Science and Technology Research Center, Amanullah Bidar, who the Treasury Department said worked as the center’s commercial director and procurement agent, and Bidar’s Farzan Industrial Engineering Company.
Among those covered by the sanctions is a Turkish citizen named Murat Buki.
The Treasury Department accused him of facilitating the purchase of a variety of equipment with defense applications, including chemical and biological detectors.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that a federal court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday unveiled two indictments for a number of defendants, including several people targeted for sanctions on Tuesday, for their role in schemes to buy and export US technology to Iran between 2005 and 2013.
The statement on the first indictment stated that Bidar and Buki exported from the United States and transported through Türkiye a device that could test the effectiveness and robustness of fuel cells and attempted to obtain a biological detection system with applications in research and use of weapons of mass destruction.
Buki was extradited to the United States from Spain in July last year and pleaded guilty in December.
The statement said that a verdict was issued against him on Monday, adding that Bidar is a fugitive.
The statement indicated that the defendants in the second indictment conspired to obtain American technology, including a high-speed camera with known applications in nuclear and ballistic missile testing, through their companies.