WASHINGTON – A large bipartisan group of 60 lawmakers sent a letter on Tuesday to US President Joe Biden and his top cabinet members, urging them to target the Iranian drone program.
Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10), August Pfluger (TX-11), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), and Don Bacon (NE-02) led the letter.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that Iranian-made drones recovered in Ukraine contain parts that were manufactured in the United States,” they wrote. “We ask that you develop a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to interrupt Iran’s supply chains, shut down shell companies used by adversaries to evade sanctions, and pressure allies to crack down on unscrupulous distributors in Europe and Asia.”
They went on to say that they 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.
“Iran’s fleet of drones have far-reaching implications beyond the war against Ukraine,” the lawmakers wrote. “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.”
They also urged an “immediate action,” 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 US servicemembers.”
Iran has been providing Russia with drones
“Iran has provided hundreds of drones to Russia since August 2022,” the letter reads. “The Shahed-136 and Shahed-131, one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles also known as “suicide drones,” have terrorized Ukrainian civilians since their introduction into the conflict. Iran has also delivered to Russia the Mohajer-6, a surveillance drone capable of conducting precision air-to-ground strikes. In recent weeks, US intelligence agencies confirmed earlier reports that Iranian-made drones contain components manufactured in the United States, Europe, and Asia. A recent report by Conflict Armament Research studied more than 500 components from Iranian-made drones and unexploded precision-guided munitions that were recovered in Ukraine.”
“Iran’s effort to support Russia in its brutal war against Ukraine not only kills innocent people in Ukraine, but advances Iran’s nefarious capabilities to threaten the US and our allies. That’s why I’m working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to cripple their burgeoning drone program which has already claimed too many lives,” Rep. Schneider said in a statement. “We must counter the IRGC and its terrorist proxies at every step.”
“The reports that Russia is using Iranian-made drones, containing parts manufactured in the United States, to attack Ukraine are extremely concerning,” said Rep. Pfluger. “I am glad to join a bipartisan coalition of Members in calling for the Biden Administration to take immediate action to disrupt Iran’s burgeoning relationship with Russia and make sure no American-made product can be used for Russia’s evil war.”