Iran Watch Newsletter: February 2024

February 28, 2024

Publication Type: 

  • Newsletters

This month’s newsletter features an analysis of two recent U.S. interdiction operations off the coast of Yemen. The operations, which turned up components of ballistic and anti-ship missiles and waterborne drones, present compelling evidence that Iran continues to violate the United Nations arms embargo on the Houthis. The newsletter also features new and updated background resources on Iran’s missile program, including an extensive image library.

In addition, the newsletter includes profiles of a network facilitating the supply of parts for Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, as well as news about Iran’s reported ballistic missile transfers to Russia, its use of British banks for evading oil sanctions, and a new research reactor under construction at Isfahan. Additions to the Iran Watch library include official statements detailing U.S.-led efforts to cut off Iran’s support for the Houthis, disrupt Iran’s UAV- and missile-related procurement efforts, and respond to attacks by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

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Items seized in a January 11 interdiction operation. (Credit: U.S. Central Command)

International Enforcement Action | U.S. Interdictions Highlight Iran's Continuing Arms Transfers to Yemen

In January, U.S. forces conducted two operations to stop vessels smuggling lethal aid from Iran to Yemen. The interdictions took place against a backdrop of ongoing Houthi missile and drone attacks against ships in the Red Sea, highlighting the role Iran has played in enabling the Houthis' assault on global commerce. The transfers are also a violation of the arms embargo imposed on the Houthis by U.N. Security Council resolution 2216.

A Fateh-family ballistic missile is fired from an IRGC Navy vessel. (Credit: IRIB News Broadcast)

Weapon Program Background Report | Image Library of Iranian Missiles

The Iran Watch website has a new background resource: an image library containing photos of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and space launch vehicles that Iran has displayed or developed. The image library complements the Table of Iran’s Missile Arsenal and Missile Milestones resources, both of which have been updated to reflect new developments through February 2024.




In 2023, the United States sanctioned a network of Chinese and Turkish entities led by Yun Xia Yuan facilitating the procurement of UAV components by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries (HESA).

Shenzhen Jiasibo Technology Co., Ltd.

A China-based import-export company; according to the Treasury Department, has worked with Yun Xia Yuan to facilitate the supply of aerospace-grade radar altimeter systems, GPS and VHF antennas, sensors, and other hardware with possible UAV applications to HESA.

Dong Wenbo

A Chinese businessman who controls Guilin Alpha Rubber and Plastics Technology Co., Ltd; according to the Treasury Department, has represented Guilin Alpha in the sale of aircraft brake disks to HESA.

Alaaddin Aykut

A Turkey-based money exchanger; with Mehmet Tokdemir, has facilitated U.S. dollar- and euro-denominated financial transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of HESA's procurement from Chinese suppliers.




A Lloyds bank branch in Manchester. (Credit: Moneybright via Flickr)

Iran Sends Russia Hundreds of Ballistic Missiles | Reuters

February 21, 2024: Iran has reportedly provided Russia with around 400 surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and plans to provide more, according to six anonymous sources. The shipments began in early January and have included the Zolfaghar missile, which can reach a distance of 700 kilometers.

Iran Used Lloyds and Santander Accounts to Evade Sanctions | Financial Times

February 5, 2024: Iran's state-owned Petrochemical Commercial Company (PCC) has used British front companies to open bank accounts and conduct transactions at Lloyds and Santander banks, according to a journalistic investigation. Pisco UK is a company owned by British national Abdollah-Siauash Fahimi, but Fahimi is a former director of PCC's UK subsidiary, PCC UK, who agreed to own the company on PCC's behalf. Similarly, Aria Associates is nominally owned by Mohamed Ali Rejal, who is deputy chief executive of PCC UK. Both companies have received payments from Chinese firms, including Black Tulip Trading China, on PCC's behalf. PCC and PCC UK are both sanctioned by the United States, and PCC has held contracts with companies connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including the Turkey-based company ASB.

Iran Starts Construction of Fourth Nuclear Reactor in Isfahan: AEOI | Islamic Republic News Agency

February 5, 2024: The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, said that workers had begun pouring concrete for the foundation of a 10-megawatt research reactor at the Isfahan nuclear technology center. Eslami visited the site to attend the inauguration ceremony of a unit for producing Tellurium hexafluoride (TeF6), a radioisotope with medical uses.




The United States and its partners sought to disrupt Iran’s ongoing support to the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.

  • The Defense Intelligence Agency published a report illustrating the Iranian origins of Houthi missiles and UAVs – February 6.
  • U.S. Central Command announced the seizure of another shipment of weapons headed for Yemen, while the Justice Department charged four Pakistani mariners who were arrested during a previous interdiction operation – February 15 and 22.
  • The United States and the United Kingdom sanctioned several entities supporting or enabling the Houthis, including deputy Quds Force commander Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh – February 27.


The United States announced several efforts targeting Iran’s international procurement of missile and UAV components and its transfers of UAVs to Russia.


The United States responded to Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria following a drone attack that killed three U.S. troops stationed in Jordan and wounded 34 others.