June 09, 2022

SFRC Approves Stop Iranian Drones Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the below statements following the Committee’s approval of H.R. 6089, the Stop Iranian Drones Act, with an amendment, which seeks to prevent Iran and any terrorist or militia groups aligned with Iran from being able to acquire lethal drones.

As the U.S. intensifies efforts to stop Tehran’s flourishing lethal unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, the bipartisan legislation would amend the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to make clear that supporting the supply, sale or transfer to or from Iran of UAVs, or providing other assistance related to UAVs, is sanctionable under U.S. law.

“As evinced by Iran’s drone attacks on Israeli shipping, Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and Iran-backed militia attacks on U.S. facilities across Iraq, including in the north and on the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iran’s reckless use and export of lethal drones to proxies and terrorist actors across the Middle East represents a significant threat to U.S. national security and that of our allies and partners,” Chairman Menendez said. “Today’s Committee approval of the Stop Iranian Drones Act serves as an important step forward in ensuring that U.S. law keeps pace with Iranian regional aggression and holds Iran accountable for its destabilizing actions. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure swift passage on the Senate floor and ultimate enactment of this bipartisan legislation into law.”

“Iran’s regional terrorism continues to threaten not only the safety and security of our partners in the Middle East, but also American national security interests. Drones have rapidly become Iran’s weapon of choice. Since the Biden Administration started negotiations to rejoin JCPOA, Iran has sponsored drone attacks on the Iraqi Prime Minister, against our Gulf and Israeli partners, and against U.S. troops and diplomats,” said Ranking Member Risch. “This legislation will impose serious costs on the Iranian drone program and its supporters so Iran can no longer conduct these attacks with impunity. The full Senate should move quickly to pass this important legislation.”

The Stop Iranian Drones Act aims to prevent Iran and any terrorist or militia groups aligned with Iran from being able to acquire lethal and non-lethal drones and hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing behavior. Specifically, the Stop Iranian Drones Act:

  • States that it is the policy of the United States to prevent Iran and terrorist and militia groups aligned with Iran from acquiring UAVs that can be used in attacks against U.S. persons and partner nations.
  • Amends CAATSA Section 107 by adding “unmanned combat aerial vehicles” to the list of relevant weapons systems, the support of which can trigger CAATSA sanctions.
  • Makes sanctions under CAATSA applicable to any person who knowingly engages in any activity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of UAVs directly and indirectly to or from Iran, or for the use in or benefit of Iran.
  • Also makes CAATSA sanctions applicable to any person who knowingly provides technical training, financial assistance, or other support to Iran related to the manufacture, maintenance, or use of UAVs.

Find the text of the legislation HERE.

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Juan Pachon