US slaps sanctions on Iran’s drone program, will continue to hold Tehran accountable

The US slapped new sanctions on Iran and its drone program on Friday, warning that Tehran’s irresponsible acts would continue to be punished.

“Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated members of a network of companies and individuals that have provided critical support to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the IRGC Qods Force (IRGC-QF),” a statement from the Treasury Department read.

The commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force UAV Command, Saeed Aghajani, was also designated.

Aghajani oversaw the July 29, 2021 attack on Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman and was behind the UAV attack against a Saudi Arabian oil refinery in 2019, the Treasury said.

Drones from Iran’s UAV program were used by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas, Kataeb Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis, the Treasury Department said.

The drones were also making their way to Ethiopia, “where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region.”

“Lethal UAVs have been used in attacks on international shipping and on US forces,” the Treasury Department statement read.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said Iran and its proxy militants used UAVs to attack US forces and Washington’s partners.

“Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts,” Adeyemo said.

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee welcomed the sanctions, saying that more needed to be done to counter Iran’s malign regional influence.

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