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US targets Iran's drone, missile programs as UN restrictions expire

US officials said the latest sanctions are intended to constrain Iran's military relationship with Russia and counter the Islamic Republic's destabilizing regional behavior.
ran's President Ebrahim Raisi watches combat drones alongside high-ranking officials and commanders during a military parade marking the country's annual army day in Tehran on April 18, 2023.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration unveiled new measures Wednesday to counter Iran’s proliferation of missiles and drones, as well as its destabilizing regional behavior, following the lapse of the United Nations’ prohibitions on Tehran's missile-related activities. 

The administration announced sanctions on more than 20 individuals and entities based in Iran, Hong Kong, China, Venezuela and Russia that it said were providing support to the Iranians' ballistic missile and drone programs. 

Senior State Department officials said the designations would not only squeeze those programs, but constrain Iran's military relationships with countries like Russia, which said it would no longer comply with UN restrictions on Iran’s missile program following their expiration on Wednesday. 

For more than a year, Western powers have accused Tehran of helping replenish Moscow's supply of weaponized drones to attack Ukraine's civilian infrastructure and military targets. Those hit with US sanctions on Wednesday included the Iran-based Sarmad Electronic Sepahan Company that, according to the Treasury Department, produced components found in Iranian Mohajer-6 drones that were downed by Ukrainian forces. 

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