On October 29, the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on a network of individuals and companies for supporting the drone program of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its expeditionary unit, the Quds Force.
In a statement, the Department of Treasury accused the Quds Force of using and supplying “lethal drones” to Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East, including Hezbollah, the Hamas Movement, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Houthis (Ansar Allah), as well as to Ethiopia.
The Department of Treasury claimed that Iranian “lethal drones” were used in attacks on international shipping and on US forces.
“Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international peace and stability. Iran and its proxy militants have used UAVs to attack U.S. forces, our partners, and international shipping,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Treasury will continue to hold Iran accountable for its irresponsible and violent acts.”
The sanctions targeted Brig. Gen. Saeed Aghajani, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force (ASF) Drone Command, Brig. Gen. Abdollah Mehrabi, chief of the IRGC ASF Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization, the Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company and its director Yousef Aboutalebi as well as Kimia Part Sivan Company and its affiliate Mohammad Ebrahim Zargar Tehrani.
The sanctions were likely a response to the October 20 attack on the US al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria. US officials blamed Iran for the attack, in which the garrison was targeted with five suicide drones and indirect fire.
The US may be also attempting to boost pressure on Tehran ahead of the reopening of negotiations on the country’s nuclear program next November.