U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday imposing new “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran, affecting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s financial resources, as well as targeting senior military officials and the country’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
The goal of the new sanctions is to put pressure on the political leadership in Tehran, after an unprovoked attack on a U.S. military drone in international airspace on Thursday. Washington has imposed a series of crippling sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign to confront the Iranian regime’s illicit nuclear and non-nuclear activities.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said that the United States would impose new sanctions on Iran that will deny Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “and many other” senior Iranian officials access to financial instruments.
The Supreme Leader’s own personal business empire includes the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, or EIKO; the Mostazafan Foundation; and the Astan Quds Razavi – immensely powerful organizations worth approximately $200 billion and with stakes in almost every Iranian industry.
The military leaders targeted by the new sanctions include eight senior commanders from the Iranian Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces divisions of the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
“Today’s actions follow a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of U.S. drones,” Trump observed, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible of the hostile conduct of the regime. He’s respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the president added.
Mnuchin stressed that the new sanctions are meant to hurt the Iranian regime, not ordinary Iranians that are fighting for freedom against a repressive theocratic system that tolerates no dissent. “Our issue is not with the people of Iran, but the sanctions are for bad behavior. Locking the money up worked last time, and there’s no question it will work now,” he said.