The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on an Iranian company it accused of co-ordinating military flights to transport drones to Russia as well as three companies it said were involved in the production of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Washington has accused Iran of supplying drones to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine — something Tehran has denied.
The Treasury Department in a statement said it had designated Safiran Airport Services, accusing it of co-ordinating Russian military flights between Iran and Russia that transported drones, personnel and related equipment.
It also designated Paravar Pars Company, Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines and Baharestan Kish Company, accusing them of being involved in the research, development, production and procurement of Iranian drones.
The department singled out Paravar Pars Company for involvement in the reverse engineering of US and Israeli-made drones, without specifying which models.
Reuters reported that some of Iran's drones are based on those made in other countries, including an aerial US RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone captured in 2011.
Also designated was Baharestan Kish Company’s managing director and a member of its board of directors, Rehmatollah Heidari.
Last month, a US official told Reuters that Russia's Iranian-made drones had suffered “numerous failures”.
“We assess that Russia intends to use these Iranian UAVs, which can conduct air-to-surface attacks, electronic warfare, and targeting, on the battlefield in Ukraine,” the official said.
Russia has probably planned to acquire hundreds of Mohajer-6 and Shahed-series unmanned aerial vehicles, the US official said.