Trump imposes sanctions on Iran's supreme leader as tension spikes

11:44 PM | 24 Jun, 2019
Trump imposes sanctions on Iran's supreme leader as tension spikes
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WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday, targeting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials with financial sanctions.

Trump's fresh executive order targets senior military figures in Iran, blocking their access to any financial assets under US jurisdiction and came as a surprise to many.

"These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran's increasingly provocative actions," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

The tycoon-turned-president elaborated that Washington would continue to ramp up pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its 'dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fuelling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.'

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The executive order stated the sanctions are "in light of the actions of the government of Iran and Iranian-backed proxies, particularly those taken to destabilize the Middle East, promote international terrorism, and advance Iran's ballistic missile program, and Iran's irresponsible and provocative actions in and over international waters, including the targeting of United States military assets and civilian vessels."

The US Treasury Department said eight senior Iranian commanders who "sit atop a bureaucracy that supervises the IRGC's [the elite Islamic Revolution Guard Corps] malicious regional activities", were being targeted.

The sanctions come days after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone worth over $100 million over the Strait of Hormuz last week, with its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif contending that trespassed.

After Tehran's action, Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory strikes on Iran; the Muslim-majority state has yet to comment on fresh sanctions imposed by POTUS.