US sanctions Iranian company for supplying drones to Russia

Six board members of Qods Aviation Industries placed on US sanctions list

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six board members of Qods Aviation Industries, which has been under US sanctions since 2013. Reuters
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The US on Friday imposed sanctions on members of Qods Aviation Industries, a supplier of Iranian drones that Washington says have been used to attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine during the war with Russia.

Russia has been hammering Ukraine's civilian infrastructure with missiles and drones since October.

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six board members of Qods Aviation, which has been under US sanctions since 2013.

Qods Aviation has operated under the name Light Airplanes Design and Manufacturing Industries since 2020, the Treasury said.

“The Kremlin’s reliance on suppliers of last resort like Iran shows their desperation in the face of brave Ukrainian resistance and the success of our global coalition in disrupting Russian military supply chains and denying them the inputs they need to replace weapons lost on the battlefield,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

Ukraine capital Kyiv hit by kamikaze drones — in pictures

Iran previously acknowledged that it has supplied Moscow with drones.

Among those sanctioned by the Treasury on Friday were Seyed Hojatollah Ghoreishi, chairman of the company's board of directors, who Washington accused of being responsible for “negotiating Iran’s agreement with Russia for the supply of Iranian UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for Russia’s war in Ukraine”.

Also sanctioned was Ghassem Damavandian, the company's managing director, who “likely facilitated” the company's supply of drones and trained Russian forces in their use.

Washington also accused board member Hamidreza Sharifi-Tehrani of having “undoubtedly” been involved in supplying drones to Iranian military services.

Others included on the sanctions list were Reza Khaki, Majid Reza Niyazi-Angili and Vali Arlanizadeh.

The Treasury also designated the director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organisation, which it says is responsible for overseeing the country's ballistic missile programme.

Friday's actions freeze any assets the sanctioned individuals have in the US and prohibits Americans from doing any business with them.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: January 06, 2023, 7:39 PM