President Donald Trump on Monday imposed a new set of sanctions on Iran that will deny Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his high-ranking officials access to the United States financial system or any assets in the U.S.
Anyone who “conducts significant transactions” with a sanctioned individual could also be sanctioned, the White House said, and Trump authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on anyone who “provides material support to the Supreme Leader’s Office.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the sanctions “outrageous and idiotic” Tuesday on state-run TV, as Khamenei has no intention of coming to the U.S. Rouhani also mocked the White House, saying it’s “afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do.”
“You say you really want to hold talks with us, but at the same time, you’re saying that you want to boycott and sanction our foreign minister, so you’re lying,” Rouhani said.
Trump responded on Twitter:
Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!
National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters Tuesday in Jerusalem before a meeting with Israeli and Russian officials that the door is wide open for Iran.
“The president has held the door to real negotiations,” he said. “All that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door.”
The new sanctions come after Iran struck down a $100 million unmanned American surveillance drone and Trump halted a “cocked and loaded” airstrike against Iran about 10 minutes before they were scheduled to commence last week.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran also include Trump walking away from a previous nuclear deal with Iran set up by former President Barack Obama. Then Iran is threatening to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium allowed under the deal. The U.S. also accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers outside the Straits of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month. Iran has denied its role in the attacks.
“No amount of economic sanctions entitles the regime to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global commerce, or engage in nuclear blackmail,” the White House said Monday.
The Trump administration is using sanctions to weaken Iran’s economy, make the country reconsider using any nuclear weapons, and renegotiate a new nuclear deal with the U.S.
“We will continue to put pressure on Tehran,” Trump said in the Oval Office on Monday. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
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