The Iranian UAV program is on a spree of further expanding cooperation with Russia. Moscow’s demand for cheap and user-friendly drones leads the Kremlin to try to both increase the volume of their supplies and place production lines in Russia. To this end, the Kremlin is ready to exchange some technologies. Moscow is also offering Iran the opportunity to test its UAVs in real combat conditions against Western air defense systems. For Tehran, this is a unique opportunity to test reveal vulnerabilities and check whether they are easily spotted by the adversary in an actual armed conflict.
Currently Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chairman of the Armed Forces General Staff oversees the army branches supplying Russia with drones. Brigadier General Seyed Hojjatollah Qureishi is a key Iranian negotiator in the deal. Also involved is Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force UAV Command.
The level of communication is much higher on the Russian side. Among those engaged is the chief of the Security Council Sergey Patrushev, leadership of the Ministry of Defense and General Staff in matters of testing UAVs in combat, as well as Vladimir Putin himself – on issues of reaching conceptual agreements on supplies with the President of Iran. This level emphasizes the importance of Iranian supplies for Russia. However, Tehran is no less interested in at least minimum supplies of drones to Russia, which allows the country to simulate potential armed clashes with the United States, Israel, and their allies. Realizing the existing crisis of the Russian defense industry, Iran understands the importance for Moscow of its military equipment deliveries, which allows Tehran to force Moscow to share nuclear technology.
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A significant part of Iranian UAV producers are actively cooperating with Moscow. One such company is Selin Technic. On March 23, 2023, in coordination with the FBI, OFAC has designated four Iranian and Turkish entities and three Iranian and Turkish nationals for their alleged involvement in the procurement of equipment, including European-origin UAV (drone) engines, in support of Iran’s UAV and weapons programs. The procurement network is said to operate on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), which oversees several firms involved in UAV and ballistic missile development. Among listed people were Amanallah Paidar; Murat Bukey; and Asghar Mahmoudi. Among listed entities: Defence Technology and Science Research Centre (DTSRC); Farazan Industrial Engineering, Inc.; Ozone Havacilik Ve Savunma Sanayi Ticaret Anonim Sirketi; and Selin Technic Co.
Asghar Mahmoudi has owned and operated Selin Technic Co (Selin Technic) as a front company to facilitate his trade business with Paidar and other U.S.-designated Iranian military entities. Mahmoudi has used Selin Technic to procure thermal imaging cameras, computer systems, and other equipment and services in support of Paidar.
Iran-based Asghar Mahmoudi (Mahmoudi) has facilitated the supply of items, including marine electronics, to Paidar and the DTSRC. Mahmoudi has also paid commissions to Paidar in connection with separate defense contracts that Paidar facilitated for Mahmoudi. Separately, Mahmoudi has provided various equipment to MODAFL UAV developers Qods Aviation Industries (QAI) and Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA).
DOB 05 Jul 1964 was burn in Kaleybar, Iran. His National ID No. 5198918954.
The company is being owned or controlled by MODAFL and having provided support to the IRGC.
Farazan Industrial Engineering is also involved in the Iranian program for the production of UAVs supplied to Russia and tested in combat operations in Ukraine. Amanallah Paidar established and utilized Farazan Industrial Engineering, Inc. (Farazan) to acquire defense equipment for the DTSRC, and in one case attempted to procure tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of European-origin turbine engines applicable for UAVs and Iranian surface-to-air missiles.
Iran-based Amanallah Paidar (Paidar) has served as a commercial manager and procurement agent for the DTSRC. Paidar has procured items with UAV applications, including inertial measurement units and attitude and heading reference systems, for the DTSRC.
Iranian company Samane Gostar Sahab Pardaz Private Limited Company (Sahab Pardaz) is one of the main operators of social media filtering services in Iran. Sahab Pardaz actively provides censorship, surveillance, and espionage tools to the Government of Iran by using big data analysis to analyze the private data of Iranian citizens. The company collects raw internet records from Iranians to build its filtering system. Sahab Pardaz executes its filtering activities by manufacturing and providing technical support for policy enforcer filtering tools for the Iranian government, and by using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) tools to aid the regime in logging, blocking, and detecting various types of internet traffic. In 2016, Sahab Pardaz signed a contract worth millions of dollars with Iran’s Telecommunication Infrastructure Company, affiliated with the Ministry of Communication and Technology, for the creation of a system of cultural and social protection.
Sahab Pardaz is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13846 for having engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to Iran on or after June 12, 2009, that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including the facilitation or support of intentional frequency manipulation by the Government of Iran that would jam or restrict an international signal.
Shahed Aviation Industries is the most active in contacts with Russia Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center is an Iranian aerospace company known for designing military helicopters and UAVs. They are associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC-ASF). They are also associated with Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation (HESA);
OFAC is designating Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center, the firm responsible for the design and production of Shahed-series UAVs being used by Russian forces in Ukraine.
Shahed Aviation Industries Research Center (SAIRC), subordinate to the IRGC ASF, has designed and manufactured several Shahed-series UAV variants, including the Shahed-136 one-way attack UAV that Russian forces have used in recent attacks targeting civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Odesa, and the Kharkiv region of Ukraine. SAIRC also developed the Shahed-129 medium-altitude reconnaissance and strike UAV for the IRGC ASF, and it is the lead contractor for the IRGC ASF’s Shahed-171 project.
Among the UAVs the company manufactured are:
- Shahed 136,
- Shahed 129,
- Shahed 131,
- Shahed 149 Gaza,
- Shahed Saegheh, and
- Shahed 171 Simorgh.
It is known that the Iranian drones were initially supplied to Russia through the political leadership of Iran and the IRGC. Later, however, the Russians expressed their interest in establishing direct contacts with the manufacturer.
According to our estimates, Russian specialists took part in the modernization of the Shahed-131, providing data on their combat use and offering advice on improving the drone’s warhead. However, in exchange for this, Moscow hopes to launch a factory to produce Iranian drones on Russian soil – already under a Russian brand, with the possibility of further exporting them. The company delegation, accompanied by IRGC officials, came to the city of Yelabuga, Tatarstan, in January 2023 to analyze opportunities for setting up a UAV production factory there. According to our estimates, the construction of such a plant would allow Moscow to produce such drones under the Geran-2 brand, while Tehran will lose a significant share of its export market, primarily in Africa.
Baharestan Kish Company is a Private Limited Company that was established in 2002 in Kish Island, Iran. The organization operates in the Technology sector. Ownership of the organization is held by Iranian based enterprises. It has 3 branches, subsidiaries and associated companies. This entity is identified as a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE).
Baharestan Kish Company has overseen various defense-related projects, which included the manufacturing of UAVs. As of 2021, the company was working on Shahed UAV components. Rehmatollah Heidari, Baharestan Kish Company’s managing director and a member of its board of directors, has been involved with various aspects of the company’s operation to include securing facilities for the company.
There is no confirmed information about this company’s direct contacts with the Russians but the fact that the Iranian UAVs being supplied to Russia have this company’s products installed in them leads to the assumption that Baharestan Kish Company is indirectly affiliated with Russia.
Design and Manufacturing of Aircraft Engines (DAMA) is an Iranian company that was involved in the research, development, and production of the Iranian Shahed-171 UAV program. The company is owned by the IRGC ASF. DAMA is a front firm that carried out covert procurement activities for Iran’s Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA), an entity affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Some of DAMA’s customers included the IRGC and the Aerospace Industries Organization. DAMA has been involved in acquiring equipment to modify UAV components that would eventually be indigenously produced by the IRGC and implemented into IRGC UAVs. DAMA has also been involved in the manufacture and procurement of equipment for further use in jet engines used by the IRGC.
The IRGC in its entirety, including the IRGC ASF and Navy, was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 on February 12, 2013. HESA was designated pursuant E.O. 13382 on September 17, 2008. MODAFL was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 in 2007 and pursuant to E.O. 13224 on March 26, 2019. The Aerospace Industries Organization was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 on June 28, 2005.
According to our sources, the company, through its channels in the IRGC, asked Moscow to provide the debris of the USAF MQ-9 Reaper UAV brought down over the Black Sea for analysis and possible technology theft.
Tehran-based Safiran Airport Services (Safiran) has coordinated Russian military flights between Iran and Russia, including those associated with transporting Iranian UAVs, personnel, and related equipment from Iran to Russia. Information also indicates that after assembly and testing, the Russian Aerospace Forces have been deploying Iranian UAVs alongside Russian UAVs in their war against Ukraine.
The U.S. Treasury Department also believes that the company acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation.
In its operations, the company cooperates with Emirates, Qatar Airways, Iran Air, Mahan Air, and Kuwait Airways.
It is highly likely that the person in the company who is responsible for contacts with the IRGC is Mohhammad ali Habibian.
IRGC Brigadier General Abdollah Mehrabi (Mehrabi), as chief of the IRGC ASF Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization (SSJO), has procured UAV engines for the organization from Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company (Mado Company), an entity he co-owns and for which he has served as chairman. Mado Company and its managing director Yousef Aboutalebi (Aboutalebi) have procured UAV engines for the IRGC Navy and entities supporting weapons development for the Iranian military, including Iran’s Qods Aviation Industries (QAI) and Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA), which is a U.S.-sanctioned company that has provided UAVs to the IRGC. Mado is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Through Mado, Aboutalebi has procured UAV engines destined for military use by the IRGC and IRGC-linked entities. Yousef Aboutalebi is the managing director of EU-listed Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company. Engines manufactured by Mado were found in Iranian Shahed-136 UAVs used by the Russian Federation in the war of aggression against Ukraine. Brigadier General Abdollah Mehrabi who is the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC AF) Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization was a co-owner of Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company.
Kimia Part Sivan Company (KIPAS) is an Iran-based company that has also worked with Iran’s IRGC-QF to improve the force’s UAV program. KIPAS officials have conducted UAV flight tests for the IRGC-QF and provided technical assistance to IRGC-QF UAVs transferred to Iraq for use in IRGC-QF operations. Mohammad Ebrahim Zargar Tehrani has helped KIPAS source these components from companies based outside of Iran; KIPAS has also procured valuable UAV components for onward use by the IRGC. Israel has named a type of unmanned aerial vehicle that has been used by Iranian-backed groups in Yemen and Iraq to carry out attacks as the KAS-04 made by Iran’s KIPAS. Saeed Aghajani directs planning for the IRGC Aerospace Force’s UAV Command and the Kimia Part Sivan Company.
According to our estimates, the company’s specialists, along with the IRGC officials, were in Crimea, where they had been brought by the Russian Ministry of Defense to combat-test Iranian UAVs.