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US sanctions over dozen firms, including 3 from India, for ties with Iran

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NEW DELHI : The US slapped on Thursday sanctions on over a dozen companies, individuals and vessels, including three from India, for facilitating illicit trade and UAV transfers on behalf of the Iranian military.

The US Department of Treasury said these companies, individuals and vessels have played a central role in facilitating and financing the clandestine sale of Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

While Sahara Thunder has been identified as the main front company that oversees Iran’s commercial activities in support of these efforts, the three India-based companies to have been slapped with sanctions for supporting Sahara Thunder are Zen Shipping, Port India Private Limited, and Sea Art Ship Management (OPC) Private Limited.

Iranian military entity Sahara Thunder relies on a vast shipping network involved in the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) to multiple jurisdictions including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Venezuela, the Treasury said.

“Sahara Thunder has entered into time-charter contracts with India-based Zen Shipping and Port India Private Limited for the Cook Islands-flagged vessel CHEM (IMO 9240914), which is managed and operated by UAE-based Safe Seas Ship Management FZE,” it said.

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