US imposes sanctions against Iran’s drone program

The US imposed sanctions against companies and individuals related to Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs.

The Department of the Treasury said in a statement that it designated two companies and three individuals that provided “critical support” to the UAV program of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reports Xinhua news agency.

Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, head of IRGC’s UAV Command, was also blacklisted for his leading role in directing UAV operations.

“Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international peace and stability. Iran and its proxy militants have used UAVs to attack U.S. forces, our partners, and international shipping,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

“Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts.”

The designation came after a drone attack targeted a US base in the al-Tanf area in southern Syria last week, with no injuries or deaths reported.

US officials believed that Iran “resourced and encouraged the attack”, while noting the drones were not launched from Iran, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The move also came two days after Tehran said it would resume negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal before the end of November.

The US and Iranian officials began indirect talks in Vienna this April to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement, but their disagreements remained significant after six rounds of negotiations, which have been interrupted due to the government transition in Tehran.

To pressure Tehran, President Joe Biden administration has recently reiterated the window for negotiations on a return to the deal will not be open forever and warned of turning to other options if diplomacy fails.

The US withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 when Donald Trump was in office and imposed sanctions on Iran.

In response, Iran has gradually stopped implementing parts of its commitments to the deal since May 2019.