Trump signs executive order to impose ‘hard-hitting’ sanctions on Iran

Andrew Cummings
June 24, 2019

Tensions continue to rise between the United States and Iran following last week's sharp escalation in which Tehran downed a us drone and the usa conducted cyberattacks against an Iranian intelligence group.

Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after Tehran's shooting down of an unmanned United States drone last week. They were blamed on Iran by Washington, although the Iranians say they were not involved. The targets of the new sanctions include senior military figures in Iran, blocking their access to any financial assets under US jurisdiction.

"Today's action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks (such as the oil tankers) including shooting down of U.S. drones". The U.S. said the drone was flying over worldwide waters.

Iran's navy chief warned earlier that other drones would be downed if USA intrusions into Iranian airspace continue.

Pompeo met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and was later due to hold talks in the United Arab Emirates.

A picture taken during a guided tour by the U.S. Navy shows the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous off the U.A.E. port of Fujairah on June 19.

Why did Iran shoot down a US drone?

The Houthi rebels claimed they used bomb-laden drones in the attack on the Abha airport, the second in less than two weeks.

The United States accuses Iran of encouraging allies in Yemen to attack Saudi targets.

What does Iran want out of all this? "I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon", he added.

Between November 2018 and May 2019-the period in which the USA slapped sanctions on Iran's oil exports allowing six-month exemptions for the largest buyers, including India, and the end of those waivers in May-Indian refiners bought around 184,000 bpd of US crude oil, up from just 40,000 bpd in the same period the previous year. "When people come to power, instead of working sincerely and seriously for the people, we hear and read after a few months in newspapers that they have stolen billions and fled".

Donald Trump said the new sanctions were in response to the shooting down of a USA drone and "many other things". "We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran", he said.

In addition to being a close regional partner, Saudi Arabia was also the world's top buyer of US weapons, a fact that Trump has often highlighted in defending his administration's close ties to the kingdom.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton stepped in during a visit to Jerusalem Sunday with a blunt warning, saying Iran should not "mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness" after Trump called off the military strike. "Iran's killed many, many people a day", Trump told NBC.

A longtime Iran hawk, Bolton emphasized that the USA reserved the right to attack at a later point. "Other countries in the Middle East, this is a hostile place. As President Trump said on Friday our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go", Bolton said during an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, himself a longtime and outspoken Iran critic.

The escalation prompted fears of an open military conflict between the two countries. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.

Trump and his administration's unwillingness to officially link Khashoggi's slaying, which occurred in October at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led to a backlash among US legislators. "His office oversees the regime's most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps", Trump said on Monday.

Throughout the recent crisis, Trump has wavered between bellicose language and actions toward Iran and a more accommodating tone, including a plea for negotiations.

Iran's semi-official Tasnim and Fars news agencies said America had imposed new sanctions on Iran "based on fabricated excuses".

Other reports by iNewsToday