President Trump imposed new "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran Monday, following Tehran's shoot-down of a U.S. Navy surveillance drone in global airspace last week. "We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its risky pursuits, including nuclear weapons, enrichment of uranium, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts against the United States and its allies".
Mnuchin said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would be targeted with us sanctions later this week.
The escalation prompted fears of an open military conflict between the two countries.
The U.S. has applied sanctions to almost 1,000 Iranian entities, including banks, individuals, vessels tied to the country's shipping and energy sectors as well as aircraft.
There financial assets held in the United States or U.S. territories will be frozen and foreign financial institutions doing business with them will be cut off from the USA financial system, the treasury department said. The Washington Post said on Saturday that the cyber strikes, which had been planned previously, had disabled Iranian rocket launch systems.
The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
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Trump said the new sanctions were in part a response to last week's downing of a USA drone, but would have happened anyway. Meanwhile, Pompeo says the administration's "maximum pressure" campaign will continue with new sanctions coming Monday.
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Trump signed the punitive financial measures against the Islamic Republic in the Oval Office, calling them a "strong and proportionate response to Iran's increasingly provocative actions". Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said shortly before Trump signed his order.
The confrontation between Iran and the United States heated up last Thursday when Iran shot down an American drone, saying it had flown over its air space.
"I thought about it for a second, I said, they shot down an unmanned drone, a plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with 150 dead people", Trump said. He tweets the US request for Iran is simple: "No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!"
The US has already sanctioned more than 80 per cent of Iran's economy, according to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
President Donald Trump is suggesting the United States should not protect ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz without compensation from other countries. It sits atop a vast network of tyranny and corruption that deprives the Iranian people of the freedom and opportunity they deserve, he said.
Monday's sanctions targeting the Supreme Leader i meant to country's leadership access "to financial resources" and authorized the "targeting of persons appointed to certain official or other positions by the Supreme Leader or the Supreme Leader's Office". "The only path forward is for Iran to negotiate a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its destabilising behaviours".