DONALD Trump has today announced new US sanctions on Iran that target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei amid fears markets will go into meltdown as tensions rise.
The crackdown comes as the president is looking for a fresh blow to Iran’s economy after Tehran shot down an unnamed US drone.
The executive order Trump has signed imposing the sanctions would lock billions of dollars more in Iranian assets[/caption]
The new US sanctions on Iran target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei[/caption]
With tensions running high between the two countries, Trump signed an executive order imposing the sanctions, which US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said would lock billions of dollars more in Iranian assets.
Trump told reporters the sanctions were in part a response to last week’s downing of a US drone by Iran, but would have happened anyway.
He said Khamenei was ultimately responsible for what Trump called “the hostile conduct of the regime” in the Middle East.
Trump said: “Sanctions imposed through the executive order … will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader’s office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded in a Twitter post that hawkish politicians close to Trump “despise diplomacy, and thirst for war.”
The latest sanctions deny Iran’s leadership access to financial resources, blocking them from using the US financial system or having access to any assets in the US.
The White House announced: “Anybody who conducts significant transactions with these sanctioned individuals may be exposed to sanctions themselves.”
The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region, saying the 2015 deal did not go far enough.
What are the new sanctions?
The new sanctions are a fresh blow to Irans economy after Tehrans downing of an unmanned American drone last week.
They are aimed at denying Irans leadership access to financial resources.
This then blocks them from using the US financial system or having access to any assets in the US.
Sanctions were also imposed on eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Trump has also signed an executive order that aims to increase transparency for the cost of health services.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Zarif will be placed under sanctions this week.
A senior State Department official said the US is building a coalition with its allies to protect Gulf shipping lanes by having ‘eyes on all shipping’.
Sanctions were also imposed on eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the US Treasury Department said.
Trump has laced into European leaders over their complaints about the increasing nuclear tension between the US and Iran.
The president blasted the EU’s leadership saying they were exclusively worried about being hit in the pocket by new sanctions.
Recent US and Iran tensions
- May 5: USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force is deployed in Middle East in response to ‘a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ by Iran.
- May 8: Iran vows to enrich its uranium stockpile if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its nuclear deal. The US responds by imposing sanctions on Iran’s metals industry.
- May 10: The US says it will move a Patriot missile battery into the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.
- May 24: President Trump says the US will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops.
- May 12: The UAE says four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets air false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.
- June 13: Two oil tankers are attacked in the Gulf of Oman – Washington blames Iran while Tehran denies involvement.
- June 18: US sends more than 1,000 additional troops to Middle East citing Iran’s ‘hostile behaviour’.
- June 20: Iran shoots down American ‘spy’ drone insisting the aircraft had flown over its airspace – a claim the US denied.
- June 24: Donald Trump announces new US sanctions on Iran that target Supreme Leader Khamenei.
Last week Trump pulled out at the last minute from launching a retaliatory strike on the Islamic Republic after they downed a US drone over the Persian Gulf.
He reportedly changed his mind about blasting Iran after learning 150 people would have been killed, but made it clear military action remained firmly on the table.
Launching into one of his trademark eviscerations The Donald told NBC: “I don’t care about Europeans.
“The Europeans are going out and making a lot of money.”
Relations in the region began to worsen significantly when Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.
The sanctions had been lifted under the pact in return for Tehran curbing its controversial nuclear programme.
Iran has said it would respond firmly to any threat against it and warned earlier today of the risks of a military confrontation.
ART OF THE DEAL What is the Iran nuclear deal?
BROKERED by the Obama White House and signed by seven world powers in 2015, the Iran nuclear deal aimed to reduce the country's ability to produce nuclear weapons.
However, Donald Trump withdrew from the deal earlier this month which he called a “horrible, one-sided deal”.
The deal was an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear weapons programme.
The deal saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.
But in May 2019 Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement which he called a “horrible, one-sided deal”, saying it did not address Iran’s ballistic missile activities and check in its regional behaviour.
The US has now threatened to impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out 12 demands for Iran and said relief from economic sanctions would only come when Washington had seen tangible shifts in Iran’s policies.
He warned: “The sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations.”
Iran would also have to walk away from core pillars of its foreign policy, including its involvement in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
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Iranian President Hassan has already accused the Americans of stoking tensions in the Gulf through what Iran has called the violation of its airspace by the US military drone.
Washington said the aircraft was targeted in international air space in “an unprovoked attack”.
Yesterday, Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt said Britain could back America in a military attack on the Shi’ite theocracy.
Trump told reporters the sanctions were in part a response to last week’s downing of a US drone by Iran[/caption]
The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region[/caption]
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