Treasury Sanctions More Iran UAV Suppliers


Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is sanctioning over one dozen entities, individuals, and vessels that have played a central role in facilitating and financing the clandestine sale of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), which itself is involved in supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Sahara Thunder is the main front company that oversees MODAFL’s commercial activities in support of these efforts. Sahara Thunder also plays a key role in Iran’s design, development, manufacture, and sale of thousands of UAVs, many of them ultimately transferred to Russia for use in its war of aggression against Ukraine.

OFAC is also sanctioning two companies and a vessel involved in the shipment of Iranian commodities for Sepehr Energy Jahan Nama Pars, which similarly plays a leading role in the commercial activities of Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS).

Concurrent with this action, the United Kingdom and Canada are imposing sanctions targeting several entities and individuals involved in Iran’s UAV procurement and other military-related activities.


The Iranian government allocates billions of dollars’ worth of commodities to Iranian military entities including MODAFL and the AFGS as part of the Iranian military’s annual budget. Sahara Thunder, which is subordinate to MODAFL, oversees MODAFL’s commercial activities. 

Sahara Thunder has also played an instrumental role in the Iranian military’s sale of UAVs. MODAFL has cooperated with Russia to finance and produce Iranian-designed one-way attack UAVs the U.S.-sanctioned Joint Stock Company Special Economic Zone of Industrial Production Alabuga (SEZ Alabuga) facility in Russia under a $1.75 billion contract.

As of late 2022, Russian officials were negotiating a deal for Sahara Thunder to deliver and produce thousands of UAVs per year at this facility. Such UAVs have been used by the Russian military in Ukraine against critical infrastructure and civilian targets.

U.S.-sanctioned Generation Trading FZE has been used as part of this network to receive millions of dollars’ worth of payments from SEZ Alabuga and its subsidiaries as part of Russia’s contract with MODAFL.

In addition to Sahara Thunder and it's leadership, OFAC cited Iranian cargo airline Pouya Air, and Bonyan Danesh Shargh, an Iran-based company that produces UAVs, quadcopters, engines, and electronic and digital parts. 

[Treasury Press Release]


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