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US, UK unveil sweeping sanctions on Iran’s drone program

US President Joe Biden said Washington and its allies would hold Iran 'accountable'
US President Joe Biden said Washington and its allies would hold Iran 'accountable' - Copyright AFP ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
US President Joe Biden said Washington and its allies would hold Iran 'accountable' - Copyright AFP ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

The United States and Britain announced widespread sanctions against Iran’s military drone program on Thursday, in response to its weekend attack against Israel.  

Washington is targeting “16 individuals and two entities enabling Iran’s UAV production, including engine types that power Iran’s Shahed variant UAVs, which were used in the April 13 attack,” the Treasury Department said in a statement, referring to Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle program. 

Tehran launched its first ever direct military attack on Israel late Saturday in retaliation for an April 1 air strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus — widely blamed on Israel — that killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two generals.

The large-scale attack involved more than 300 drones and missiles, most of which were shot down by Israel and its allies including Washington and London, causing little damage. 

In response to the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country reserves the right to protect itself.

“Today, we are holding Iran accountable — imposing new sanctions and export controls,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement. 

“As I discussed with my fellow G7 leaders the morning after the attack, we are committed to acting collectively to increase economic pressure on Iran,” he continued. 

“And our allies and partners have or will issue additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilizing military programs.”

Britain is also imposing sanctions “targeting several Iranian military organizations, individuals and entities involved in Iran’s UAV and ballistic missile industries,” the Treasury Department statement said.

– Sanctions target steel industry –

Alongside its sanctions against Iran’s UAV program, the US also targeted five companies providing parts for Iran’s steel industry, and an automaker involved in providing “material support” to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

“Iran’s metals sector generates the equivalent of several billion dollars in revenue annually, with the majority coming from steel exports,” the Treasury Department said.  

“We are taking swift and decisive action to respond to Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, according to the statement.

“We’re using Treasury’s economic tools to degrade and disrupt key aspects of Iran’s malign activity, including its UAV program and the revenue the regime generates to support its terrorism,” she continued. 

“We will continue to deploy our sanctions authority to counter Iran with further actions in the days and weeks ahead,” she added.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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