Donald Trump said the economic sanctions will remain till the Iranian regime changes its behaviour. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order imposing another set of crippling sanctions against Iran, targeting several of its top leaders, military commanders, and its infrastructure industry, according to a statement from the White House on Friday. Trump said the executive order authorises the imposition of sanctions against any individual or entity operating in the construction, manufacturing, textiles, or mining sectors of the Iranian economy or anyone assisting those who engage in this sanctioned business. The sanctions are the latest in a series of retaliatory measures between the two nations.
Iran's powerful military commander Qasem Soleimani was killed last Friday in US drone strikes, ordered by President Trump, bringing the entire Gulf region close to a full-blown conflict. Regional tensions remained high after Iran on Wednesday fired missiles at two bases in Iraq used by US forces.
"Today, I am holding the Iranian regime responsible for attacks against United States personnel and interests by denying it substantial revenue that may be used to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence," said Trump on Friday, after signing the executive order. "This order will have a major impact on the Iranian economy, authorising powerful secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions.
"The Iranian regime has threatened United States military service members, diplomats, and civilians, as well as the citizens and interests of our allies and partners, through military force and proxy groups. The United States will continue to counter the Iranian regime's destructive and destabilising behaviour," the president said. Trump said the economic sanctions will remain till the Iranian regime changes its behaviour.
Earlier at a White House news conference, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with cabinet colleague Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the US will continue its economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran till Tehran announces it will not pursue the nuclear weapons program and stop its destabilising behaviour in the region. The eight senior Iranian regime officials against whom sanctions have been issued include Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Deputy Chief of Staff of Iranian armed forces, and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The sanction on the Iranian officials would mean denial of visa to the US and seizure of assets, among others. In addition, the treasury designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies, a network of three China-and Seychelles-based entities, and a vessel involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products, as well as in the provision of critical metals production components to Iranian metal producers.
"The United States is targeting senior Iranian officials for their involvement and complicity in Tuesday's ballistic missile strikes," Mnuchin said. "We are also designating Iran's largest metals manufacturers, and imposing sanctions on new sectors of the Iranian economy including construction, manufacturing, and mining. These sanctions will continue until the regime stops the funding of global terrorism and commits to never having nuclear weapons," he added.
Pompeo told reporters that Iran was planning "broad, large-scale attacks" against American interests in the Middle East, including embassies. The latest round of sanctions are aimed at striking at the heart of Iran's internal security apparatus, he said. "The president has been very clear: we will continue to apply economic sanctions until Iran stops its terrorist activities and commits that it will never have nuclear weapons," Mnuchin said.