At least one citizen of Trkiye, a NATO member, was also hit with economic penalties
The United States has announced another round of sanctions on Iran, targeting an alleged "procurement network" for drones and ballistic missiles, as Washington continues to accuse Tehran of supplying weapons to Russian forces in Ukraine.
The US Treasury detailed the new measures on Tuesday, imposing penalties on four businesses and three people in both Iran and Turkey for their supposed "involvement in the procurement of equipment" - including "European-origin engines" - to be used for the Islamic Republic's weapons programs.
"Iran's well-documented proliferation of [drones] and conventional weapons to its proxies continues to undermine both regional security and global stability," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement, vowing to "continue to expose foreign procurement networks in any jurisdiction that supports Iran's military-industrial complex."
The targeted entities include the Iran-based Defense Technology and Science Research Center, which the Treasury claimed operates "on behalf" of Tehran's military, as well as a number of related firms. Turkish citizen Murat Bukey was also included on the sanctions blacklist, accused of facilitating the transfer of a "variety of goods with defense applications" to Iran, including European-made engines that can be used in both drones and surface-to-air missiles.
Bukey was arrested last year in Spain on the request of Washington and later extradited to the US over allegations that he helped to smuggle foreign equipment to Iran in violation of American sanctions. He was charged on Tuesday over the alleged violations, as was Iranian national Amanallah Paidar, who was also named in the latest round of sanctions.
While the United States has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying drones to Russian troops deployed to Ukraine, Tehran insists it sent only a "small number" of UAVs before fighting erupted last year and says it has not provided more since.
In a televised address on Tuesday to mark the Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that the US is seeking to "to change the very nature of the Islamic Republic" through sanctions and other forms of interference, slamming Washington for "global arrogance and imperialism." Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani later said the US was "intensifying the cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation" in a social media post, calling the move a "display of hypocrisy and hostility of the American regime."