Biden Admin Investigating How US Tech Wound Up In Iranian Suicide Drones Hitting Ukraine

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. initiated a far-reaching probe after researchers found U.S.-made components in some of the hundreds of Iranian-made drones Russia is using to attack Ukraine, CNN reported, citing multiple officials familiar with the effort.

Despite stringent sanctions on Iranian businesses and export controls on U.S. technology, researchers analyzing remains of the Iranian drones on the battlefield identified the kinds of advanced microelectronics the strict sanctions regime intends to block Iran from acquiring. The White House Security Council convened representatives from the Defense, State, Justice, Commerce and Treasury Departments, for an “all hands on deck” effort to expose Iranian sanctions evasion, CNN reported, citing an official.

The task force is part of a new “holistic approach” to negotiating Iran policy, a senior administration official told CNN. In recent weeks, Iran has deepened support for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, backed a brutal crackdown on Iranian protesters and expanding its nuclear program after President Joe Biden declared a potential nuclear deal “dead.” (RELATED: Iranian Troops In Crimea Supported Russian Drone Strikes, US Official Says)

UK-based investigative firm Conflict Armament Research (CAR) examined one Iranian-made Shahed-131 drone, two Shahed-136 models and one Mohajer-6 in November, discovering that more than 82% of parts originated in parts manufactured in the U.S. CAR did not identify the manufacturers.

Additionally, Ukraine’s Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO) found that at least half of more than 200 technical components retrieved from remains of shot-down Iranian drones could be traced to U.S. firms and a third to firms in Japan, the WSJ first reported in November, citing Ukrainian military intelligence from April verified in the report.

NAKO’s investigation traced drone parts to Oregon-based Sierra-Olympic Technologies and Arizona-based Microchip Technology, but both companies denied selling their products to Iranian buyers.

However, Dallas-based Texas Instruments is likely one source, whose processors were found in some drones, according to Ukrainian intelligence and a U.S. official familiar with the investigation, CNN reported. Also under review is Canada’s Bombardier Recreational Products for drone engines.

Both companies have condemned the apparently illegal end use of their products, CNN reported.

“TI is not selling any products into Russia, Belarus or Iran,” a spokesperson for Texas Instruments (TI) told CNN.

“TI complies with applicable laws and regulations in the countries where we operate, and partners with law enforcement organizations as necessary and appropriate. Additionally, we do not support or condone the use of our products in applications they weren’t designed for,” the spokesperson told the outlet.

Ukraine and Russia “are considering the establishment of a joint production line for lethal drones in Russia, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier in December, according to The Hill.

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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