Trump signs off on “hard-hitting” Iran sanctions

Pesident Trump has signed off on an order leveling new sanctions against Iran, as tensions between Washington and Tehran continue to escalate.

Mr. Trump, calling reporters into the Oval Office Monday morning, described the sanctions order as “hard hitting” and said they will deny Iran’s supreme leader and others access to financial instruments.

“I can only tell you we can not ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon. And it won’t happen,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office.

The sanctions come after Iran shot down a U.S. drone last week and Mr. Trump approved cyber attacks against the regime. The sanctions are supposed to deny Iran’s supreme leader and those in his office from access to financial resources.

“These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” the president said in the Oval Office. “We will continue to increase 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 in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave reporters a surprise briefing on the topic moments after Mr. Trump announced the sanctions. The treasury secretary insisted previous sanctions placed on Iran are indeed working, despite the latest signs of aggression identified by the Trump administration. Mnuchin would not specifically name which actions these latest sanctions are supposed to target.

Only last week, Mr. Trump suggested the striking down of a U.S. drone may have been a mistake, carried out by someone “loose and stupid.”

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional,” Mr. Trump said last week, adding that it was perhaps a general or someone “under command” of the Iranian government who mistakenly authorized the strike. “It could’ve been somebody who was loose and stupid,” he continued.

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