Lawmakers call for crackdown on Iranian supply chains following drone revelations

Recent reports showed that U.S.-manufactured parts were found inside Iranian-made drones used in Ukraine

(Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Hanged paper planes are seen in front of the Iranian Embassy during the protest against Iran's alleged supply of drones to Russia after Kyiv was hit by a series of deadly strikes on Monday, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 18, 2022.

Following revelations that Iranian-made drones used by Russia in Ukraine contained parts manufactured in the U.S., a bipartisan group of more than 60 lawmakers is urging the Biden administration to “develop a coordinated, whole-of-government approach” to cracking down on Iran’s supply chains.

Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), August Pfluger (R-TX), Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Don Bacon (R-NE) led 57 colleagues on a letter on Monday addressed to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the subject.

The legislators call on the administration to disrupt Iranian supply chains, shutter shell companies used to dodge sanctions and “pressure allies to crack down” on suppliers in Europe and Asia, noting that the signatories are “deeply concerned” by the revelations about the drones.

“We understand that this process is already underway, at least in part, and request a timely briefing on any progress that has been made and plans going forward,” the letter continues. It calls new sanctions targeting the Iranian drones provided to Russia, which were announced on Jan. 6, “a small but promising first step in what must become a concentrated, sustained effort.”

Recent reports from independent researchers and Ukrainian intelligence services have indicated that the vast majority of the parts used in Iranian-made drones and guided munitions recovered in Ukraine were made by U.S.-based companies, the letter notes.

“Iran’s fleet of drones have far-reaching implications beyond the war against Ukraine. These weapons provide Iran and its proxies with yet another tool to project power in the region, threatening our troops, key allies, and freedom of navigation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We appreciate your attention to this important issue. Immediate action is necessary not only to disrupt Iran’s burgeoning relationship with Russia, but also to blunt Iran’s ability to undermine international law, project power across the Middle East, and threaten U.S. servicemembers.”

The lawmakers say that the U.S. and its allies’ efforts to combat Iran’s drone fleet must be comparable to the “comprehensive sanctions regime” targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program.

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