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. In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, photo, Rod and Tonya Meldrum hold a portrait of their son Devin Meldrum, in Provo, Utah. He suffered from debilitating cluster headaches and fatally overdosed after taking a single fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone pill purchased from a dark-web store run by Aaron Shamo, according to his family and authorities. Shamo was not charged in Meldrum’s death, and his lawyers have argued that and other alleged overdoses can’t be definitively linked to him. RICK BOWMER  |  AP
    A clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a...
  2. In this image from video released by the CIA, Hamza bin Laden, the son of of the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is seen as an adult at his wedding.  The White House says Hamza bin Laden has been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A White House statement gives no further details, such as when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States confirmed his death. CIA via AP
    The statement gives no further details about when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States confirmed his death.
  3. Christina's father, Justin Brown, says bystanders joked his family should play the lottery. He says the doctor kept saying "Oh my goodness, I've got a 9/11, 9/11, 9/11." Photo from video/CBS 17
    Christina Malone-Brown was born by cesarean section at a hospital in Germantown, Tennessee.
  4. A giant inflatable rat depicting President Donald Trump is seen on the street near the U.S. House Republican Member Retreat, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in Baltimore. NICK WASS  |  AP
    Trump spoke on Thursday to House Republicans attending an annual retreat in a hotel on Baltimore’s waterfront. Protesters gathered nearby.
  5. FILE - In this April 3, 2019 file photo, actress Felicity Huffman arrives at federal court in Boston to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Huffman, who pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy and fraud in May, is returning for sentencing in federal on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 court in Boston. CHARLES KRUPA  |  AP
    The “Desperate Housewives” star is scheduled to appear in Boston’s federal court Friday after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy and fraud in May.
  6. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters just after the House Judiciary Committee approved guidelines for impeachment hearings on President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    Democrats and Republicans deeply were split over whether it meant anything at all.
  7. FILE - In this April 14, 2018 file photo, a man wears an unloaded pistol during a pro gun-rights rally in Austin, Texas. In a letter sent to the Senate on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, CEOs from businesses including Airbnb, Twitter and Uber asked Congress to pass a bill to require background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law that would allow courts to issue life-saving extreme risk protection orders. ERIC GAY  |  AP
    In a letter sent to the Senate on Thursday, CEOs from businesses including Airbnb, Twitter and Uber asked Congress to pass a bill to require background checks on all gun sales.
  8. In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 Brenda Scurlock is shown in her home in Lumber Bridge, N.C. holding a newspaper clipping about her son's murder. Scurlock's son Avery Scurlock, who used the name Chanel when dressing as a woman in social settings and hoped to have sex reassignment surgery,  was found shot to death in June. This death of a transgender person in North Carolina is one of 18  so far this year, and  17  of the victims have been black women. GERRY BROOME  |  AP
    Avery, 23, was one of 18 transgender people slain so far this year in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign.
  9. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, on Monday. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    The storm’s devastation highlights a risk public health experts have long warned about.
  10. Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Yuma, Ariz. The 30-foot high wall replaces a five-mile section of Normandy barrier and post-n-beam fencing, shown at left, along the the International border that separates Mexico and the United States. Construction began as federal officials revealed a list of Defense Department projects to be cut to pay for President Donald Trump's wall. MATT YORK  |  AP
    South of Yuma, Arizona, the tall brown bollards rising against a cloudless desert sky will replace much shorter barriers that are meant to keep out cars, but not people.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement