President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran’s central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.
“We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” he said.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.
Elaborating on Trump’s remarks, the Treasury Department said it was authorizing sanctions on the central bank not only over Iran’s alleged nuclear work but for “terrorism.”
Such a designation may be more difficult to lift, even if Trump loses next year’s election to a Democrat who wants to ease sanctions as part of a future deal.
“Iran’s brazen attack against Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“Treasury’s action targets a crucial funding mechanism that the Iranian regime uses to support its terrorist network, including the Qods Force, Hezbollah and other militants that spread terror and destabilize the region,” he said.
The Qods Force conducts international operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, who are in charge of protecting the clerical regime.
Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group and political party in Lebanon, is among Iran’s closest regional partners.
The Treasury Department said that the Iranian central bank has provided “billions of dollars” to the two units, which were both previously designated as terrorists by Washington.
The United States also imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees include President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defense ministry.
Trump in June authorized a military strike after Iran shot down a US drone, only to call it off at the last moment.
He recently said that he hopes for talks with Rouhani, which responded that Trump must first ease sanctions.
Trump last year pulled out of a nuclear accord with Iran negotiated under former president Barack Obama, sending tensions soaring as he tried to stop all countries from buying Iran’s oil.
© 2019 AFP
MSNBC’s Morning Joe says GOP support for Trump softer than it looks: ‘They’re counting the days until he leaves office’
Following an epic rant by "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on spinless Republican lawmakers who allow themselves to be abused by President Donald Trump - and then proceeded to suck up to him afterward -- the MSNBC host confided that most Republicans he speaks to can't wait for Trump to be out of their lives.
During the panel discussion that encompassed the way that the president has treated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Scarborough expressed disgust with the lawmakers who he says secretly hate Trump.
"Every Republican I've spoken with behind the scenes, they just shake their head," the MSNBC host explained. "They are literally counting the days until Donald Trump leaves office."
Trump’s right-wing Christian lawyer ordered lies that landed Trump’s former fixer in prison: MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch
MSNBC's Donny Deutsch warned President Donald Trump's associates to ignore advice from the president's attorneys, because they've already landed someone in prison.
The "Morning Joe" contributor revealed that Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow, a religious right media figure, has already gotten former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen sent to prison to protectthe president.
"I'm going to give them the number, it's 1-800-Otisville, and they should all call Michael," said Deutsch, a friend of Cohen's. "None of these people are going to tell anything but the truth. By the way, the lie (Cohen) told was at the direction of Jay Sekulow."
Fox News hosts lob conspiracies and personal attacks at Democrats as they argue against impeachment
The three prime time hosts at Fox News hosts invoked conspiracy theories and lobbed personal attacks about the appearances of Democrats lawmakers participating in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in lieu of attacking the substance of the testimony given on the first day of public hearings.
This article was first published in Salon.
After describing the hearing as a “complete and utter disaster” for Democrats in her opening monologue Wednesday night, host Laura Ingraham invited Raymond Arroyo, the conservative author and lead anchor for the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network, to discuss the public hearings with her.