Trump is upping the ante on Iran with additional sanctions to be imposed on Monday.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic.
Trump did not say what the sanctions would be, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that Iran’s financial sector would be penalized soon if it doesn’t work to stop evading international guidelines designed to combat money laundering.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed more sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry. In early May, Trump announced additional ones on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and cooper sectors.
In May 2018, the U.S. first announced it would reimpose sanctions after a wind-down period as it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord. Those sanctions on Iran included, among others, the purchase of U.S. dollars banknotes, trade in gold and precious medals, and significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials.
Attack called off
Tensions ratcheted up a notch after the Islamic Republic shot down an unmanned U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday. That drone was worth $100 million.
A U.S. retaliatory strike had been set for Thursday, Trump revealed. But he said he decided to postpone it when he learned that some 150 Iranians would be killed.
“Everybody was saying I’m a war monger. And now they say I’m a dove. And I think I’m neither, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told reporters on Saturday. “I’m a man with common sense. And that’s what we need in this country, is common sense. But I didn’t like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone and then we kill 150 people.”
Instead, U.S. military cyberforces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday. U.S. officials said that the cyberattacks, which disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, had been authorized by Trump, the Associated Press reports.
Iran, too, is showing some restraint. It announced it had refrained from shooting down a U.S. spy plane carrying more than 30 people. Trump said “we very much appreciate” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard chose not to target that plane.
Even as he promised to impose sanctions, Trump also said he looked forward to the day they’d be withdrawn. He tweeted on Saturday, “I look forward to the day that sanctions come off Iran and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”
Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons! Under the terrible Obama plan, they would have been on their way to Nuclear in a short number of years, and existing verification is not acceptable. We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday. I look forward to the day that…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019
Trump has been consistent when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. “The fact is we’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon,” he said on the way to Camp David for the weekend, a statement he repeated in his Saturday tweet.
AP contributed to this report.