US accuses Russia of receiving materials from Iran for drone factory
The United States has accused Russia of receiving materials from Iran to build a drone factory. The US Executive has warned that Iran’s development of drones poses a threat to international peace and security, and has called on individuals and businesses around the world to take steps not to support the development of the program.
Joint Notice by Government Departments
The Departments of Commerce, Treasury, Justice, and State have stressed that it is critical for private industry to be aware of its legal obligations regarding entities and items involved in Iran’s unmanned drone programs, given the potential application of sanctions. In a joint notice, they have pointed out that the purpose of this alert is to prevent companies from contributing to the program, including through direct and indirect supplies to suppliers in third countries.
US Report in Mid-May
The US report from mid-May highlighted that since at least the end of August 2022, Iran has supplied hundreds of drones to Russia, which have used them to attack critical Ukrainian infrastructure. John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, has also warned that Russia is receiving materials from Iran to build a drone factory on its territory, which could be fully operational early next year.
Iran’s drone shipments to the Yemen warfront
The US Executive has added that Iran has maintained the shipment of drones and other weapons to the Houthis, which have been used to carry out attacks inside Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. With these efforts, Iran may be trying to strengthen bilateral relations with cooperating countries, boost export sector profits, and complicate efforts to restrict its drone activities.
Foreign Acquisitions by Iran
The US has recalled that Iran particularly relies on foreign acquisitions for items it cannot produce domestically and often prefers US-sourced technologies. Drones used by Russian forces in their war against Ukraine reveal that the Iranian drone production program uses many components produced by third-party suppliers.
Compliance Obligations for Industry
The US government alert has stated, “The industry needs to be aware of its compliance obligations due to the threat posed by the extensive overseas network of procurement agents, front companies, suppliers, and middlemen used by Iran to obtain components, who employ a variety of methods to circumvent export controls and sanctions.”
Warnings to the Industry
The warning to the industry has asked to be aware of various “red alerts,” such as the other party using a personal mail instead of a corporate one in transactions or unusual shipping routes being made. The United States has recalled that those who provide support to sanctioned individuals could themselves be subject to sanctions and foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate significant financial transactions for or on behalf of certain sanctioned persons may also be sanctioned.
Russia Continues Use of Iranian-made Drones
The State Department has confirmed that Russia continues to use Iranian-made drones in attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. This advisory is yet another example of how the United States is working to stop and delay its supply from Iran to Russia.