US sanctions Iranian companies over alleged drone supplies
Washington wages more sanctions against Iran due to their alleged transfer of drones and weaponry to the Russian forces.
The United States has implemented a new set of sanctions against Iran, this time targeting Iranian companies that produce and facilitate the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia to use in the war in Ukraine, according to the US Department of Treasury on Tuesday.
"Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning firms involved in the production or ongoing transfer to Russia of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which Russia has used in devastating attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine," the statement said.
The three entities are Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center, Success Aviation Services FZC, and Jet Global DMCC. They are being sanctioned, according to Washington, for their role in the production and facilitation of the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia as written in a statement.
In addition, two individuals - Abbas Djuma and Tigran Khristoforovich Srabionov - have been sanctioned for their role in the transfer of drones, according to the statement.
Last month, State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters, "Anyone doing business with Iran that could have any link to UAVs or ballistic missile developments or the flow of arms from Iran to Russia should be very careful and do their due diligence -- the US will not hesitate to use sanctions or take actions against perpetrators."
However, within this context, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova slammed the allegations that Iran has been supplying drones to Russia as "a set of groundless speculations."
Zakharova said that "the rumors about [deliveries of] Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles being spread by some independent, unnamed and closed sources in the American media have been refuted in recent days by both Iranian and Russian officials."
Iran says sent UAVs to Russia but before Ukraine war
Tehran gave a small batch of drones to Russia, but it was before the Ukraine war broke out, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on November 5.
Ukraine and its western allies have long been accusing Iran of supplying drones to Russia in the midst of the war. However, Tehran's latest statements once again struck down the allegations as false, proving that the Iranian drones seen in Ukraine's airspace were not provided to Moscow as the war was ongoing.
"We supplied Russia with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine," the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.
The top Iranian diplomat went on to remind how Tehran requested that Kiev provide it with proof and documentation of Moscow's use of Iranian UAVs.
"In a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian foreign minister last week, we agreed that if there was evidence (of Moscow's use of Iranian drones), he would provide it to us," Amir-Abdollahian said.
"If the Ukrainian side keeps its promise, we can discuss this issue in the coming days and we will take into account their evidence," he added.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister completely dismissed the allegations raised against Tehran alleging that it had supplied missiles to Russia, saying the accusations were "completely false".
Commenting on the statements of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stressed that "the Ukrainian Foreign Minister's baseless accusations against Iran do not help resolve the war crisis."
Tehran advises Ukraine to be realistic in terms of allegations that Iranian drones are used in the Ukraine war, Kanaani added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during an online briefing a couple of weeks ago that he submitted a proposal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to formally break off diplomatic ties with Tehran.
During the briefing, Kuleba accused Iran of having supplied weapons to Russia despite having no evidence to support his claims.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went as far as claiming that Russia was deploying almost 2,500 attack drones purchased from Iran.