UAV Drone IndustryIsrael said to have provided intel on Iranian drones before latest US sanctions

November 8, 2021by helo-10

Israel reportedly gave Washington officials information about Iran’s military drone industry before the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on companies and related figures.

Last week the US hit Iran’s drone program with sanctions, targeting two companies and a number of individuals.

The information from Israel included Iran’s use of drones in recent years and top officials involved in their development, among them those who were put under sanctions by the US, Haaretz reported Sunday.

An Israeli source assessed that the sanctions were aimed at boosting pressure on Tehran ahead of the reopening of negotiations on the country’s nuclear program, and also to deter it from further use of drones in attacks, according to the report.

The developments came amid moves by Israel to raise Iranian drones as a threat requiring attention, alongside that of its nuclear program.

In announcing the sanctions Friday, the US Treasury said lethal unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been used to attack US forces and international shipping in the Gulf region.

The drones have also been supplied to Hezbollah, Hamas and Yemen’s Houthis, and have been seen in Ethiopia, “where the escalating crisis threatens to destabilize the broader region,” the Treasury said.

The sanctions singled out Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, who leads the Revolutionary Guards’ UAV Command.

The Treasury said that Aghajani was behind a 2019 drone attack on an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia as well as the July 29, 2021, attack on the Mercer Street commercial ship operated by an Israeli-owned firm off the coast of Oman that saw two crewmen killed.

Also named to the sanctions blacklist were two companies, Kimia Part Sivan and Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar, along with the latter’s managing director, for providing components and helping develop the armed UAVs of the Revolutionary Guards.

In August, Defense Minister Benny Gantz named Aghajani publicly as the head of the IRGC drone unit responsible for the assault on the tanker and other UAV attacks, in a briefing with envoys from countries on the United Nations Security Council.

Then last month Gantz revealed the location of an Iranian airbase that he said is being used to train Tehran’s regional proxies to operate advanced drones.

A satellite photograph of an alleged Iranian base that Defense Minister Benny Gantz says is used to train Iranian proxies to operate advanced drones on September 12, 2021. (Screen capture: Go Live Broadcasts)

Also in September, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid discussed the Iranian drone threat with Bahrain senior officials during his visit to the country, according to the Haaretz report, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett raised the subject during his speech earlier that month to the UN General Assembly.

The US has stated its interest in reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but Tehran has not returned to talks on a joint US-Iran return to the accord since June. The JCPOA offered Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear development program. After the Trump administration pulled out of the deal in 2018, the pact unraveled, with Iran also dropping some of its commitments, raising concerns it is drawing close to the threshold of being able to produce nuclear weapons.

Friday’s US sanctions were announced just two days after Iran said it will resume talks with world powers in November on reviving the nuclear deal.

That commitment came after a five-month gap that saw mounting warnings that international patience was wearing thin with Tehran.

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