New Evidence Suggests DJI Selling Drones To Iran

(New York, N.Y.) — The world’s largest commercial drone maker, China’s Da-Jiang Innovations Science & Technology Co., also known as DJI, is facing renewed scrutiny this month following a POLITICO investigation that revealed the company “sent drone parts – like batteries and cameras” to Russia in November and December 2022. The Russian military is known to be using drones, including drones of Iranian origin, to target and kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine.

Coinciding with this discovery, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has located new evidence suggesting that DJI is also actively engaged in the Iranian market, contrary to claims made by company officials last year in correspondence with UANI that “DJI has a strict policy against distributing [its] products to countries targeted by global restrictions including Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea, DNR, and LNR regions. We require all our dealers to adhere to this policy, and we have a robust compliance system that requires them to verify their customers and to expressly commit they are not selling products to those regions.”

UANI has shared its findings with DJI and warned that doing business of any kind in Iran is simply not acceptable.

The sale of drones and drone components to purchasers in the Islamic Republic would likely constitute a violation of U.S. sanctions. DJI was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2021 for providing the Chinese Communist Party with drones to surveil “ethnic and religious minorities in China, particularly the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.” In addition, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted DJI drones in July 2022 used by Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization backed by the Iranian regime.

DJI, which has the largest share of the U.S. consumer drones market as well at 70 percent of the global drone market, according to company officials, is not an outlier in its engagement in the Iranian market. UANI has located evidence that CUAV Tech Inc. Ltd. (CUAV) – a UAV hardware and software supplier – and Beijing MicroPilot UAV Flight Control Systems (BMP), have sold Iran components for its military drones program.

CUAV products, which are sold by Chinese online retailers, including Aliexpress, have been identified in Iranian-made military drones. BMP products have been identified in Iranian-made military drones recovered by U.N. inspectors in Yemen and by authorities in Ukraine. BMP is also suspected to be a reseller of Iranian drone engines manufactured by Qom-based Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar (MADO), which is itself subject to U.S. sanctions and was recently blacklisted by the U.S. Commerce Department, as well as the Government of Ukraine earlier last week, to a global marketplace.