McCaul, Meeks, Wilson, Deutch Introduce Legislation to Sanction Iran’s Drones and Suppliers

November 30, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Military

Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism Lead Republican Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Chairman Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced the Stop Iranian Drones Act (SIDA) to clarify that U.S. sanctions on Iran’s conventional weapons program under CAATSA include the supply, sale or transfer to or from Iran of unmanned combat aerial vehicles. The legislation also states that it is US policy to prevent Iran and Iranian-aligned groups from acquiring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be used in attacks against the United States or our partners. 

“Iran’s UAV proliferation continues to threaten the U.S. and our allies throughout the Middle East. Whether the attack is launched by Iran, the Houthis, Iran-backed militia groups or any other Iran-sponsored entities, these attacks are intolerable,” Rep. McCaul said. “The people of the Middle East, including Americans living there, cannot live in freedom, stability or prosperity under assault by Iran’s drones. With this bill, we are ensuring the world knows that the U.S. will use every tool to cut off Iran’s UAV supplies and to punish those who continue to supply Iran with UAVs and parts despite their destructive impact.”

“Deadly drones in the hands of the world’s greatest exporter of terrorism, Iran, jeopardizes the security of the United States and regional peace. Recent Iranian drone attacks on U.S. troops, commercial shipping vessels, and against regional partners, along with the export of drone technology to conflict zones, pose a dire threat,” Rep. Meeks said. “The Stop Iranian Drones Act (SIDA) not only aligns current U.S sanctions law with the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, but also sends a strong signal to the international community that support for the Iranian drone program will not be tolerated by the government of the United States.”

“I am grateful to join my colleagues in this measure to clarify in statute that UAVs are included in sanctions on Iran’s conventional arms,” Rep. Wilson said. “Unmanned vehicles are a convenient way for malign actors, particularly Iran, the world’s leading exporter of terrorism, to attack their targets at low cost and risk. It is critical that the United States strictly enforce our sanctions laws to respond to this growing threat.”

“Time and again, the Iranian regime has used UAVs to continue its destabilizing behavior, threatening not only the broader Middle East region, but also U.S. troops, interests, and allies. I am glad to see the Biden Administration taking this threat seriously,” Rep. Deutch said. “Now Congress must also act to ensure Iranian UAVs do not continue to end up in the hands of terrorist proxies or threaten the lives of American troops. This bill makes important clarifications to our current law to make certain UAVs are included in existing arms sanctions and bolster our ability to prevent Iran from using them for malicious and dangerous purposes.”