The United States has imposed sanctions on seven individuals and four entities in Iran, China, Russia, and Turkey for their roles in Iran's UAV and military aircraft development.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) says the network has been instrumental in facilitating shipments and financial transactions aimed at supporting the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA), which is already designated by the US.
The moves follow several actions this week to further sanction individuals connected to the regime, including a former president, in the wake of a prisoner exchange between Iran and the US, which saw the release of $6bn of Iran's frozen funds unblocked from South Korea, in what critics suggest is a way for the Biden administration to pacify those who say the deal has only paved the way for more hostage diplomacy from the regime.
HESA is known for manufacturing UAVs, including the Ababil and Shahed series, and has previously faced US sanctions due to its affiliations with Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics and its support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
In an attempt to circumvent US sanctions and export controls, HESA has used alternative names, such as Shahin Co.
Among the designated individuals are Mehdi Gogerdchian, Hamidreza Noori, and Husayn A'ini, who have been acting on behalf of HESA, the China-based Shenzhen Jiasibo Technology Company and its owner Su Chunpeng, and Guilin Alpha Rubber and Plastics Technology Company, represented by Dong Wenbo.
Several Russian entities, including Delta-Aero Technical Service Center LLC, have supplied propellers, tires, and conducted tests and overhauls for HESA's aircraft.
Turkish money exchangers Mehmet Tokdemir and Alaaddin Aykut have facilitated financial transactions in US dollars and euros to support HESA's procurement activities from various suppliers.
The sanctions dictate that all property and interests in property belonging to the designated individuals and entities within US jurisdiction must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Any transactions involving the assets of the blocked individuals or entities are strictly prohibited.