Treasury Targets Procurement Network Across Middle East and East Asia Supporting Iran’s UAV Program


US Authorities Disrupt International Network Aiding IRGC UAV Production

Washington, DC — The US Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury announced joint actions today to disrupt an international procurement network supporting Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) production. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury is imposing sanctions on ten entities and four individuals across Iran, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia involved in facilitating the procurement of components for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force Self Sufficiency Jihad Organization (IRGC ASF SSJO) and its UAV program.

The network, led by Hossein Hatefi Ardakani in Iran, has been instrumental in acquiring US- and foreign-origin components worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for the IRGC ASF SSJO. The actions come as part of ongoing efforts to counter Iran’s illicit UAV production and its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East and beyond.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, stated, “The United States, in close coordination with our allies and partners, will continue to use the full range of our tools and authorities to disrupt these illicit procurement networks, as well as hold accountable the individuals and entities who seek to support them.”

Simultaneously, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging Hossein Hatefi Ardakani and Gary Lam with crimes related to the illicit procurement network. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted a multi-year investigation that revealed a network of Iranian intermediary companies, front companies, and logistics businesses facilitating the transfer of sensitive technology to Iran for its weapons programs.

This action is taken pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The IRGC ASF and IRGC ASF SSJO were previously designated under EO 13382 in 2010 and 2017, respectively.

Iran’s Hossein Hatefi Ardakani and Network

Hossein Hatefi Ardakani oversees a transnational procurement network spanning the Middle East and East Asia, facilitating the acquisition of servomotors, inertial navigation equipment, and other items with UAV applications for the IRGC ASF SSJO. The network includes Iranian intermediary companies, front companies, and logistics businesses based in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and other jurisdictions.

Ardakani is being designated pursuant to EO 13382 for providing support to the IRGC ASF SSJO.

Iran-Based Firms and Associates

  • Kavan Electronics Behrad Limited Liability Company (Kavan Electronics): Ardakani’s leadership in Kavan Electronics involves acquiring and selling UAV-applicable items worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRGC ASF SSJO.
  • Mehdi Dehghani Mohammadabadi (Mohammadabadi): CEO of Kavan Electronics, designated for acting on behalf of Kavan Electronics.
  • Gholamreza Ebrahimzadeh Ardakani (Ebrahimzadeh): Procurement agent for Ardakani, involved in acquiring various UAV-applicable items.
  • Teyf Tadbir Arya Engineering Company (Teyf Tadbir) and Basamad Electronic Pouya Engineering Limited Liability Company (Basamad Electronic): Owned or controlled by Ardakani.

These entities and individuals are designated under EO 13382 for their support to Ardakani’s network.

IRGC ASF SSJO Commercial Front

  • Saman Industrial Group (SIG): SIG serves as a commercial front company for the IRGC ASF SSJO.

SIG is being designated pursuant to EO 13382 for acting on behalf of the IRGC ASF SSJO.

Malaysia- and Hong Kong-Based Front Companies

Several companies based in Malaysia and Hong Kong were involved in procuring and facilitating the transfer of UAV-applicable items for Ardakani:

  • Skyline Advanced Technologies SDN BHD (Skyline): Used to procure and overhaul UAV-applicable items.
  • Dirac Technology HK Limited (Dirac): Used to procure UAV-applicable antennas.
  • Integrated Scientific Microwave Technology SDN BHD (ISM Tech): Used to procure inertial measurement units.
  • Arta Wave SDN BHD (Arta Wave): Involved in the procurement of UAV servomotors.
  • Nava Hobbies SDN BHD (Nava Hobbies): Facilitated the procurement of various items for Ardakani’s network.

These entities are designated under EO 13382 for their support to Ardakani.

Indonesia-Based Servomotors Procurement

  • Surabaya Hobby CV (Surabaya Hobby): Facilitated shipments of servomotors for Iran’s Pishgam Electronic Safeh Company (PESC).
  • Agung Surya Dewanto (Dewanto): Owner and representative of Surabaya Hobby, coordinated with PESC on shipments.

Surabaya Hobby is designated pursuant to EO 13382 for its support to PESC, which was previously designated.

Sanctions Implications

The sanctions require the blocking of all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities in the United States. Transactions involving these blocked or designated persons by US persons or within the United States are prohibited. Foreign financial institutions facilitating significant transactions for these individuals or entities could also face US sanctions. The US government emphasizes its commitment to disrupting illicit procurement networks and holding accountable those supporting Iran’s UAV programs.

IAT News Service
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