WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday directed against Iran’s supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the last action the U.S. has taken. To discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and militant support groups.
The sanctions follow Iran’s downfall of a US$100 million U.S. surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz that has increased tensions. Trump pulled from the brink of military strikes in retaliation against Iran last week but continues his lobbying campaign.
The objectives of the new sanctions include high-ranking military figures in Iran, which block their access to any financial assets under U.S. jurisdiction.
“These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased uranium enrichment, the development of ballistic missiles, participation and support for terrorism, the promotion of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts. Directed against the United States and its allies.”
The sanctions serve to deny Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his close collaborator’s access to money and support.
Iran’s naval commander, however, warned that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again and shoot down more U.S. surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace. The United States said the drone was flying over international waters.
“We say with confidence that the crushing response can always be repeated, and the enemy knows it,” Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said according to the semi-official news agency Tasnim.
Tensions have been on the rise since Trump last year withdrew the U.S. A global nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.
Iran has denounced U.S. sanctions, which essentially prevent Iran from selling its oil internationally, such as “economic terrorism.”
Previously, Trump suggested that the United States should not protect ships in the Strategic Strait of Hormuz without compensation from other countries.
The United States blamed Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers this month near the strait, denouncing what it called a “growing tensions” campaign in a region crucial to global energy supplies.
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