Trump Imposes 'Hard-Hitting' Sanctions On Iran: Here's What They Are
Topline: President Trump signed an executive order Monday imposing new, “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran, affecting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s financial resources for the first time, as well as pocketbooks belonging to military leaders responsible for Thursday’s downing of a U.S. drone.
- The goal of the new sanctions is to force political change in Tehran, according to the New York Times. Analysts say, however, sanctions were imposed with no significant diplomatic outreach by the Trump administration.
- Monday’s announcement follows the administration’s efforts this spring to restrict all oil exports out of Iran, and the 2018 imposition of over 1,000 sanctions on Iran. Cumulatively, the sanctions kneecapped Iran’s economy.
- Oil prices fell 1% Monday as fears of conflict in the Middle East began to subside.
- Speaking from the White House briefing room Monday, U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said some of the sanctions “were in the works” prior to Thursday’s drone downing, and some were “in addition to recent activity.” Mnuchin declined to identify which sanctions applied to which events.
- The military leaders targeted by the sanctions are eight senior commanders representing the Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces branches of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Key background: Trump’s latest sanctions follow a yearlong period of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran, stemming from Trump withdrawing the U.S. in 2018 from an Obama-era international agreement designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In the agreement’s stead, Trump imposed sanctions to cripple Iran’s economy, which succeeded. More recently, two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Iran-adjacent Gulf of Oman—one in May, the other in June—led Trump to blame Iran for both incidents, ratcheting up U.S./Iran tensions. The Gulf of Oman is a shipping route for almost 40% of the world’s oil supply, and the oil tanker attacks sent oil prices climbing as fears of military conflict grew. Trump almost carried out a retaliatory strike against Iran for Thursday’s drone downing, but reports suggested the president called it off with minutes to spare, citing the strike’s death toll as “disproportionate” to the loss of an unmanned drone. Mnuchin stressed Monday’s sanctions are meant for Iran’s government, not its citizens. “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.