Trump announces new sanctions against Iran

Tuesday, 25 Jun, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday targeting Iran's supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the latest action the USA has taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups.

While President Donald Trump called off a strike on Iran minutes before it was to take place last week, his administration and allies in Congress continue to seek a financial price from Iran, via economic sanctions and other measures meant to squeeze the regime.

Iran's naval commander, however, has warned that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again and shoot down more USA surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace.

FILE - This June 13, 2019 file image, released by the USA military's Central Command, shows damage and a suspected mine on the Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman near the coast of Iran.

Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.

Then there is Trump's stated desire for talks with Iran.

Tensions rose further last Thursday when Iran shot down the American drone.

During the November-May period, India's purchases of Saudi crude oil increased by 11 percent to 804,000 bpd and imports from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) surged by 37 percent to 360,000 bpd, while purchases from Iraq went down 3.3 percent to 1.01 million bpd. Vice President Mike Pence told CNN on June 23 that the administration remains doubtful that the drone attack was authorized "at the highest levels", of Iran's leadership.

Early in May, US officials warned that Iran is planning attacks against US troops and interests in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has been at war with the rebel Houthis in Yemen for more than four years.

Pompeo wrote on Twitter that he had a "productive meeting" with the king. "We know what they've done", the official told reporters, adding that the deterrents would include cameras, binoculars and ships.

Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberattack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week.

"We will call it "Let's make Iran great again", Trump said over the weekend.

In the other posting, he reiterated his demand that Iran not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Washington, which said the drone was in global skies, then appeared to come close to attacking Iranian military targets, with Mr Trump saying that he aborted a retaliatory air strike 10 minutes before it was to go ahead.

In a pair of tweets on Monday, Trump told other countries to protect their own Gulf oil shipments and declared the U.S. has only limited strategic interest in the "dangerous" region. He said one option could be to "enhance" an existing multinational maritime force in the region involving about 30 countries - several of them in Europe - that fights drug and arms smuggling.

Tensions between the two countries have been escalating in recent weeks. Iran claimed that the drone had violated its airspace. Trump could also hit Iran's central bank with secondary sanctions, but that would come at the risk of hurting humanitarian trade. "His office oversees the regime's most brutal instruments", Mr Trump said according to the White House pool. Iran's foreign minister said he was in talks with leaders from several countries, including China, India and Russian Federation to establish trade "backchannels" in the hopes of side-stepping those sanctions.