Advertisement
  1. Nation & World

Trump signs order imposing sanctions on Iran supreme leader

President Donald Trump listens to a reporter's question after signing an executive order to increase sanctions on Iran, in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, June 24, 2019, in Washington. Trump is accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, left, and Vice President Mike Pence. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Published Jun. 24

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

The sanctions follow Iran's downing of a more than $100 million U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes on Iran last week, but is continuing his pressure campaign against the nation.

"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 its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies."

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear pact that world powers made with Tehran in 2015. Other nations stayed in the deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. Trump called it a one-sided deal in Iran's favor and re-imposed sanctions but says he wants to negotiate a different deal. Iran, which calls the sanctions "economic terrorism," has thus far shown no interest in negotiating.

The latest round of sanctions denies Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior military figures access to financial resources and blocks their access to any financial assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction.

"For people who say these are just symbolic, that's not the case at all," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "We've literally locked up tens and tens of billions of dollars."

Trump said the new sanctions are not only in response to the downing of the drone. The U.S. has blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers this month near the Strait of Hormuz. Citing those episodes and intelligence about other Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there.

All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran's Islamic Revolution.

"The supreme leader of Iran is the one who is ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime," Trump said. "He is respected within his country. He also oversees the regime's most brutal instrument including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard."

Iran's naval commander has warned that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again and shoot down more U.S. surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace. The U.S. said the drone was flying over international waters.

"We confidently say that the crushing response can always be repeated, and the enemy knows it," Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi Khanzadi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The sanctions came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is holding talks in the Middle East with officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia about countering the military threat from Iran by building a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries. Pompeo is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Germany, France and Britain, as well as Russia and China, remain part of the nuclear accord that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for set limits on its uranium enrichment levels. The three European countries have sent envoys to Tehran recently, signaling they remain committed to diplomacy and dialogue. They cautioned against moves that can lead to conflict between the U.S. and Iran.

Associated Press writer Mathew Lee contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. DACA recipients including Greisa Martinez Rosa, right of center in red dress, and others leave the Supreme Court with their hands in the air after oral arguments were heard in the case of President Trump's decision to end the Obama-era, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, at the Supreme Court in Washington. ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    The program currently protects 660,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and are here illegally.
  2. Alex Trebeka speaks at the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center on Sunday, April 30, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. On Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, Trebek announced that he's on a leave of absence from "Jeopardy" after undergoing brain surgery for blood clots - medically known as subdural hematoma - that were "caused by a fall I endured two months ago." [Photo by Chris Pizzello | Invision | AP]
    Tournament of Champions contestant Dhruv Gaur decided to sacrifice his Final Jeopardy answer to send the host a loving message: #weloveyouAlex.
  3. The three Taliban figures were under the custody of the Afghan government, Ghani said, and were held at the Bagram prison, an air base that also houses U.S. troops just outside Kabul.
  4. Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza early Tuesday in a resumption of pinpointed targeting that threatens a fierce round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) HATEM MOUSSA  |  AP
    The Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife, setting off a furious barrage of Gaza-fired rockets that reached as far as the Tel Aviv
  5. Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue protesting President Donald Trump, in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. JOSE LUIS MAGANA                         |  AP
    House committees will determine whether President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family and the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
  6. In this Sept. 29, 2007 file photo, co-host Vanna White and host Pat Sajak make an appearance at Radio City Music Hall for a taping of celebrity week on "Wheel of Fortune" in New York. Sajak had to have emergency surgery, and his longtime sidekick Vanna White is filling in as host while he recovers. The show says on its social media accounts that the Thursday. Nov. 7, 2019, taping was canceled as the 73-year-old Sajak underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. PETER KRAMER  |  AP
    73-year-old Sajak underwent a successful procedure on a blocked intestine.
  7. In this Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, a person checks their smartphone in Glenview, Ill. A mysterious wave of texts swept America’s phones overnight Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, delivering unintelligible messages that left many people mildly confused when they woke up on Thursday. NAM Y. HUH  |  AP
    Tampa-based telecom vendor Syniverse said a server failure on Valentine’s Day caused the problem.
  8. This March 29, 2018 file photo, shows logo for social media giant Facebook at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Facebook said Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, it is deleting the name of the person who has been identified in conservative circles as the whistleblower who triggered a congressional impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s actions. The company said that mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates Facebook’s “coordinating harm policy,” which prohibits material that could out a “witness, informant, or activist.” RICHARD DREW  |  AP
    Facebook says it will revisit this decision if the name is widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.
  9. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then on to Georgia to meet with supporters. ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21.
  10. McDonald's is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Happy Meal by re-releasing some of its most popular toys from Nov. 7-11. McDonald's
    From Power Rangers and Space Jam to Cowboy McNugget and Furby, McDonald’s is re-releasing some of the most popular Happy Meal toys from the last 40 years for a limited time.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement