U.S. Issues Sanctions Targeting Iranian Drones Used in Attack on Israel

Craig Bannister | April 18, 2024
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Sanctions have been placed on 16 individuals and two entities enabling Iran’s production of the type of drones used in its April 13 attack on Israel, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday.

Despite pressuring Israel to cancel its plans to retaliate, a Treasury Department press release says that the sanctions are a “response” to Iran’s attack, the Treasury Department says in a press release.

The sanctions target Iran’s production of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAW), specifically the Shahed drones used in the attack on Israel, the release says:

“[I]n response to Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on April 13, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) 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.”

Iran launched more than 170 Shahed-136 drones, 120 ballistic missiles, and 30 cruise missiles in its aerial attack on Israel, virtually all of which were intercepted and preventing from hitting Israeli soil.

The drones used were the latest iteration of the Shahed model, designed and enhanced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps since its introduction in 2014. While not the most sophisticated drones, they are extremely inexpensive to produce (about $50,000) compared to other aerial weapons, enabling Iran to deploy them in larger quantities than missiles, which can cost a million dollars each.

Additionally, the low cost forces defending nations, like Israel, to use missiles that are far more expensive, in order to intercept the much-cheaper incoming Iranian Shahed-136 drones.

Iran’s efforts to upgrade its military drone weaponry are reportedly being aided by scientific, technical, and production collaboration with Russia.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions block “all property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons,” as well as “entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons.”