The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on a critical procurement network instrumental in supplying materials and sensitive technology for Iran’s ballistic missile and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs, including the Shahed-series UAVs produced by Iran’s Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center (SAIRC).
Since September 2022, Russia has actively used Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack Ukraine’s energy and civilian infrastructure. In recent months, Russian forces have launched several to several dozens of drones daily across various oblasts of Ukraine, with most of them targeting civilian facilities.
The sanctions target four entities based in Iran and Hong Kong, identified as covert procurement agents for Hamed Dehghan and Pishtazan Kavosh Gostar Boshra (PKGB), both previously designated by OFAC. These entities have supported various Iranian military organizations, notably the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“We will not hesitate to leverage our full suite of tools to disrupt the illicit procurement networks that supply the components for these weapons systems, as well as hold accountable those who seek to export these weapons to terrorist proxy groups,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
The sanctions reveal the complex network involving Hong Kong-based front companies like FY International Trading Co., Limited (FYIT), which has engaged in significant transactions benefiting the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). FYIT, alongside Duling Technology HK Limited and Advantage Trading Co., Limited, has facilitated the procurement of millions of dollars worth of UAV engines, Western-origin carburetors, and other critical components for Iran’s UAV programs.
The sanctions also shed light on the IRGC-QF’s use of front companies, like the China Oil and Petroleum Company Limited (COPC), to sell Iranian commodities to entities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), masking the origin of these commodities to evade international sanctions.
In December 2023, the European Union announced restrictive measures targeting six individuals and five entities associated with Iran’s UAV program.
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