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U.S. targets supply of Iranian drones to Russia in new sanctions

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A Russian drone is seen during a Russian drone strike, which local authorities consider to be Iranian made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Shahed-136, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Roman Petushkov/File Photo

The United States on Friday issued new sanctions targeting suppliers of Iranian drones that Washington said have been used to target civilian infrastructure in Ukraine during the conflict with Russia.

The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on six executives and board members of Qods Aviation Industries (QAI), also known as Light Airplanes Design and Manufacturing Industries.

The Treasury described Qods Aviation Industries, which itself has been under U.S. sanctions since 2013, as a key Iranian defense manufacturer responsible for the design and production of drones.

“We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to deny Putin the weapons that he is using to wage his barbaric and unprovoked war on Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement.

Also designated on Friday was the director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization, which Treasury said is the key organization responsible for overseeing Iran’s ballistic missile programs.

Friday’s action freezes any U.S. assets of those designated and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those that engage in certain transactions with them also risk being hit with sanctions.

The United States has previously imposed sanctions on companies and people it accused of producing or transferring Iranian drones that Russia has used to attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said they were sent before Russia’s February invasion. Moscow has denied its forces used Iranian drones in Ukraine.

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