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US announces new sanctions targeting Iran supreme leader, IRGC commanders


US announces new sanctions targeting Iran supreme leader, IRGC commanders

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 25 Jun 2019, 10:27 am

Washington, Jun 25 (Sputnik) President Donald Trump said he approved new US sanctions on Iran to hold Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates responsible for the country's "hostile conduct."

"In a few moments I'll be signing an executive order imposing hard-hitting sanctions on the Supreme Leader of Iran and the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran and many others," Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday. "The Supreme Leader is the one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime."

Trump said the sanctions seek to "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."

He added that the move comes partly in response to recent escalations, including the downing of a US Navy drone over the Strait of Hormuz and the series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

The president emphasized that the United States does not seek conflict with Iran and expressed hope that US-Iranian relations would improve, allowing for sanctions to be lifted so the country can prosper.

But he insisted that the United States would continue increasing pressure on Iran until it changes its "malign activities" and abandons its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and not designed to produce atomic weapons.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later announced that the United States was sanctioning Khamenei along with eight senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' Navy, Air Force and Army over their alleged role in orchestrating malign activity in the region.

In later remarks, Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the Treasury Department was sanctioning eight senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Navy, Air Force, and Army for their role in orchestrating malign activity in the region.

Mnuchin added that the United States would sanction Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later this week.

Trump and Mnuchin clarified that the new US sanctions are not specifically in response to the downing of the US drone, but instead an overall response to recent destabilizing activities by Iran.

US Senator Tom Cotton praised the Trump administration's decision to impose sanctions against the highest level of Iran's leadership.

"No one is more responsible for Iran's campaign of terror and oppression than the Ayatollah Khamenei, and no one is more deserving of these sanctions," Cotton said via Twitter on Monday.

US Senator Roger Wicker in a statement expressed hope that these new sanctions will stop Iran's "incendiary behavior" while Senator Macro Rubio warned that foreign banks that do business with Iran should now fear consequences.

Iran last week said it downed a US surveillance drone flying over the coastal Hormozgan province after it violated the country's airspace. US Central Command said that the drone was shot down while operating over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.

Following the incident, Trump said he ordered but later called off US military strikes on Iran, deciding instead to unveil new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated since last year, when Trump pulled the US out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and began reimposing sanctions on the country.

Iran has refuted all US allegations and said Washington and its allies are looking for a pretext to start a war with Iran.   

US announces new sanctions targeting Iran supreme leader, IRGC commanders

India Blooms News Service
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