The United States on Tuesday imposed a new round of sanctions against 10 entities and four individuals for their involvement in procuring materials for the production of drones in Iran.
The sanctions target a network spanning Iran, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia led by Hossein Hatefi Ardakani, according to the U.S. State and Treasury Department. Ardakani and Gary Lam, who worked for a Chinese company, and their co-conspirators were named as defendants in a Justice Department press release.
The U.S. said these individuals and entities were involved in the procurement of sensitive goods, including U.S.-origin electronic components, for one-way attack drones produced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force Self Sufficiency Jihad Organization and its drone program.
A multi-year investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) identified a network of Iranian intermediary companies, front companies, and logistics businesses used to procure and facilitate the transfer of sensitive U.S. and foreign-origin technology for its weapons program.
‘Iran’s illicit production and proliferation of its deadly UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to its terrorist proxies in the Middle East and to Russia continues to exacerbate tensions and prolong conflicts, undermining stability,’ Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.
Washington has long accused Tehran of supplying such weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine. Iran denies providing Russia with drones for use in the country.
Reuters contributed to this report.