US Announces Sanctions On Iran Drone Procurement Network


US Announces Sanctions On Iran Drone Procurement Network | Associated Press

The United States said Tuesday it is imposing a new round of sanctions on Iranian firms and people accused of procuring equipment used for Iranian drones. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control coordinated with the FBI to designate four firms and three people in Iran and Turkey for allegedly buying equipment, including European-made engines, to be used for Iran’s drone and weapons programs. Those targeted for sanctions include the Iran-based Defense Technology and Science Research Center, its procurement firm Farazan Industrial Engineering Inc. and two other firms along with purchasing agents from the companies. “Iran’s well-documented proliferation of UAVs and conventional weapons to its proxies continues to undermine both regional security and global stability,” said Brian Nelson, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Nelson was referring to unmanned aerial vehicles. “The United States will continue to expose foreign procurement networks in any jurisdiction that supports Iran’s military industrial complex,” he said.  

Russia Says Coordinates Meeting With Turkey, Syria, Iran Officials – RIA | Reuters  

Russia is coordinating with Syria, Iran and Turkey on a schedule for a meeting of their deputy foreign ministers, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the state RIA news agency on Tuesday. A source from the Turkish foreign ministry told Reuters that a meeting planned for last week was postponed. "We haven't agreed on anything yet, so there's nothing to postpone," Bogdanov was cited as saying. "We proceed from the fact that it should take place the sooner the better. But our colleagues, the Syrians, the Turks, and the Iranians have their work plans and timetables. While there is no specific date, we will continue to coordinate."  

British-Iranian’s Hunger Strike Outside Foreign Office Hits Day 27 | The Guardian 

British-Iranian Vahid Beheshti is persisting with a 27-day hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in an attempt to persuade the UK government to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. His hunger strike has now lasted six days longer than the one undertaken outside the Foreign Office by Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of the British Iranian detainee Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe, who went to see Beheshti on Monday, said he was concerned for Beheshti’s welfare, and recalled the toll the hunger strike took on his own body and mind by the end. “Your decision-making slows down and, at the same time, you become more sure that your cause is right and that if you only persist for another day or do a bit more they will give in.” Coventry-based Beheshti is accompanied by his wife, Mattie Heaven, and normally has two friends in tents next to him outside the Foreign Office. He said: “I have lost 10kg and am growing weaker, but I am going to carry on until we win.” Blood tests by his doctor at the weekend suggested he was not in imminent danger.  


Dark Sanctioned Tanker In Collision With Ship Off Venezuela | Lloyds List 

…The US Treasury Department blacklisted Bueno and 10 other vessels last November over alleged links to an Iranian oil-smuggling network. The ship was subsequently deflagged by the Djibouti International Ship Registry. Its current flag is unknown. The ship has been in Venezuela since 2021, according to US monitoring group United Against Nuclear Iran. 

British Islamic Centres Accused Of Having 'Outrageous' Ties To Brutal Iranian Regime | Daily Express 

…UK authorities have been called to urgently investigate reported connections between several Islamic institutions based in Britain and the Iranian regime. Jason Brodsky, policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, described to the links between the Islamic Centre of England to Ayatollah Khamenei as “outrageous”, echoing comments made by security minister Tom Tugendhat that these organisations pose a “vile threat” to the UK. 


Israel Could Strike Iran In Three Months, Retired Israeli General Says | Washington Free Beacon 

The Biden administration’s failure to present a credible military response to Iran’s expanding nuclear program has brought Israel closer than ever to launching a military strike on Tehran, according to a retired Israeli general. Retired brigadier general Amir Avivi, who spent 30 years in the Israel Defense Forces and now serves as chairman of the Israel Defense and Security Forum think tank, predicted that Israel could launch a strike in as little as three months if the Biden administration does not unite its Middle Eastern allies around a plan to combat Iran’s march toward a nuclear weapon. An Israeli military strike, Avivi said in a wide-ranging interview, "is bad for everybody, but this is at the moment what’s going to happen, and maybe happen in three months, in six months, maybe a year." Israel’s deadline for a strike is shrinking due to Iran’s relationship with Russia and support for its war in Ukraine. Moscow could provide Iran with advanced air defense systems that would make it harder for Israel to attack its nuclear sites. And without an anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East, Israel’s options are limited, Avivi said.  

Iranian Regime TV Airs Antisemitic Tirade Against IAEA Head | Jerusalem Post  

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ofogh TV station broadcast antisemitic remarks by foreign affairs expert Mohammad Ghaderi on March 5 that targeted International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Grossi. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) first reported on the antisemitic comments in a translation on its website. Ghaderi told Ofogh, “Grossi is an Argentinian diplomat. He is also a Jew. When he arrived at the scene and was elected as head of the IAEA, he had the full support of the US government – which was the Trump administration – and the personal support of Mike Pompeo himself. He had the backing of the Zionist lobby.” Ghaderi added, “Even though his rival had more votes before the election took place, he was eventually elected due to the heavy lobbying on his behalf.”  

To Prevent Nuclear Iran, US Should Arm Israel, Write 44 Retired Generals And Admirals | Jewish News Syndicate

In a March 20 open letter issued by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), 44 retired U.S. generals and admirals asked the White House and Congress to “immediately provide Israel with the advanced weapons it needs to deter and prevent a nuclear Iran.” “Iran is coming ever closer to crossing the nuclear threshold and, thereby, sparking a crisis in the Middle East,” according to the letter released by the Washington, D.C. nonprofit. It first appeared in The Hill on March 21. The signatories added that Washington should apply lessons from the one-year-old conflict in Ukraine: “It’s vital to arm capable and willing partners facing regional threats, and best to do so before conflict erupts.” “As retired American military leaders who devoted our lives to the defense of our nation, we prefer a diplomatic solution that would genuinely end the threat posed by Iran’s escalating nuclear program,” they wrote. “But no such deal is imminent, nor realistic.”  


Iran Expects Its Rial To Improve After ‘Financial Understandings’ With Iraq, UAE | Asharq Al-Awsat  

Iran has reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate trade movement between their countries using the Emirati currency, the dirham. In another deal with Baghdad, Tehran agreed to a new mechanism for the settlement of payments related to Iraqi energy arrears to Iran. Agreements with the UAE and Iraq will likely have a positive impact on Iran’s currency, the rial, and foreign currency market, said Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani. In statements upon his return to Tehran, Shamkhani said his trips to China and the UAE achieved important results and, therefore, it was decided that this process should continue with the trip to Iraq. Shamkhani explained that the results of his recent visits to Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, had followed his return from Beijing with an agreement with Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations.


IRGC Threatens Azerbaijani President For 'Zionist Aggression' Against Armenia | i24 News 

On March 21st, two official IRGC Telegram-channels, Sepah_pasdaran and IRGCQODS Niru-ye Qods channel, posted direct threats to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. According to the posts, the developments in Iran’s northern frontier are very much against Iranian interests, as they indicate that the intentions of Baku - puppeteered of course by the “Zionist regime” - are “for a hostile action against Armenia.” The post says that “the message of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Baku and its supporters is clear: Mr. Aliyev, it will cost you a lot.” The threatening message begins with an ad hominem argument against Aliyev, claiming his mental state is declining due to “illusions caused by indiscriminate consumption of psychedelics.” The post continues to explain how the Azerbaijani president’s judgment, clouded by the aforementioned illusions, is flawed, and his belief “that by attacking the border areas of Iran and Armenia, it can take control of these areas and by closing the communication route between Iran, Russia and Europe, it will receive concessions from Iran and turned to blackmail.”  


Iran’s Khamenei Says US Wants To Keep Ukraine War Going | Al Jazeera 

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says the United States is not interested in putting an end to the war in Ukraine, which he maintains the Western military alliance created. “The US actually started the Ukraine war,” he said during a speech on Tuesday in Mashhad. “The US created the grounds for this war to expand NATO in the east.” “Now, it is also the US that benefits the most from the Ukraine war,” Khamenei said. “The poor people in Ukraine are facing problems, and weapons manufacturing companies in the US are reaping the benefits, so they won’t go along with ending the war.” The supreme leader emphasised Tehran’s position that it has had no participation in the war, denying Western claims that Iran has supplied armed drones that Russia has used in the conflict. Western governments in recent months have imposed many rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities and officials based on allegations of arming Russia.

Iran Calls Biden’s Nowruz Message For Iranian Women A ‘Lie’ | Iran International

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman says the message by US President Joe Biden on the occasion of Iranian New Year, Nowruz, supporting Iranian women’s demand for freedom, is a “lie”. In a tweet on Tuesday, Nasser Kanaani said, “the false claim of supporting Iranian women while Washington intensifies the cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation is a display of the hypocrisy and hostility of the American regime and its anti-Iranian leaders." US President Joe Biden in a statement on Monday congratulated Iranians on the arrival of Nowruz saying this year, the New Year comes at a difficult time for many families, when hope is needed more than ever—including for the women of Iran who are fighting for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. “The United States will continue to stand with them, and all the citizens of Iran who are inspiring the world with their conviction and courage. And together with our partners, we will continue to hold Iranian officials accountable for their attacks against their people.”


Khamenei Claims West Is Offering Arms To Iran Protesters | Iran International  

In his vitriolic new year speech, Iran’s Supreme Leader claimed the US president and European heads of state arm the country’s revolutionaries. “During recent unrest, the US president and heads of states of certain European countries openly offered weapons and financial and security support to rioters to weaken the Islamic Republic but what happened was the opposite,” he said, in spite of the country being in its worst economic recession for decades and all but isolated on the world stage. The allegation was one of many thrown at the West in a new year speech Tuesday, amidst outright denials of Iran’s having sent drones to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine. “We categorically deny any presence in the Ukraine war and such a thing is not true at all,” he said.