Meaning of Iran’s sanctions on drones in the context of its nuclear crisis



The US Treasury has imposed new sanctions on Iranian Revolutionaries (IRGC) as well as the IRGC Quds Force drone network and its responsible commanders. Four IRGC commanders, including Yousef Aboutalebi, Saeed Aghajani, IRGC Aerospace Force UAV Command Commander, Abdollah Mehrabi and Mohammad Mohammad Ebrahim Zargar Tehrani, have been added to the sanctions list.

In addition to these individuals, two companies linked to the regime’s destructive drone activities were also sanctioned:


The US Treasury said in the sanctions statement:

“Today, the US Department of Treasury The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has appointed members of a network of companies and individuals who have provided critical support to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ( IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the IRGC Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

“The IRGC-QF has used and proliferated deadly drones for use by Iran-backed groups including Hezbollah, HAMAS, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Houthis, and Ethiopia, where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the entire region. Deadly drones have been used in attacks against international shipping and against US forces. “

The US Treasury pointed out that “The Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts. “

The IRGC was placed in part and in full on the sanctions list in 2007 and 2017 according to several different executive decrees, the last of which was October 13, 2017, when the entire IRGC was placed on the US sanctions list.

Drones are one of the regime’s central weapons for exporting terrorism and warmongering. Thus, during the last decade, the regime has invested heavily in the production of drones and allocated a large budget despite a serious economic crisis.

Its foreign wing, the terrorist group Quds Force, uses the regime’s various drones to attack and destabilize other countries in the region. The regime thus compensates for its aerospace weakness with these drones, because since the beginning of its reign, the regime has not been able to create an effective air force for the war, mainly because of its global sanctions.

The regime’s drone network consists of three parts:

  • The drone production sector, managed by the regime’s defense ministry
  • The maintenance, use and command of the UAV, which is carried out by the IRGC Air Force
  • The use of drones, which is transferred by the Quds terrorist force to the regime’s proxy groups across the region.

To produce drones, the regime smuggles some of its major components, such as engines and electronic components, from outside sources and produces other parts within the country.

According to the information obtained, a total of eight industries are involved in the construction of drones in Iran.

Some of these industries are subsidiaries of the regime’s Defense Ministry’s Air Industries Organization. Another part of these factories concerns the IRGC air force and other regime armed forces which are apparently non-governmental.

Each of them is responsible for the construction of different parts of the drones and possibly their assembly. These sanctions are important as the United States and European countries seek a new nuclear deal with the regime, especially sanctions against those affiliated with the IRGC, who are the regime’s main pillars of repression and warmongering. This indicates that these countries will not obey the regime’s blackmail.

This is because the regime is trying to take more concessions from the international community and is seeking to have the sanctions lifted.

As we have seen, the regime’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, angry at the new US Treasury sanctions on its drone program, said:

“The imposition of new sanctions reflects the completely contradictory behavior of the White House. The US government says it intends to return to the JCPOA but continues the same approach as the previous administration by imposing sanctions. America is not really trustworthy in sending this message. The United States imposes new sanctions on Iran, including four people and entities. “


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