EFE – Jun 24 2019
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced on Monday the imposition of financial sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Jameneí, and eight Iranian commanders, in the midst of escalating tension in the Persian Gulf.
In addition, the U.S. plans to sanction Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif this week, a key figure in the negotiation and promotion of the 2015 nuclear agreement, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In the Oval Office, Trump signed a decree to impose sanctions that, he promised, «will deny the supreme leader, his office and those closest to him access to key financial resources.
«This measure responds to a series of aggressive behaviors of the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including the downing of a U.S. drone» last Thursday, said the president.
«Iran’s supreme leader is ultimately responsible for the regime’s hostile conduct. In his country he is respected, and his office supervises the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Guardians of the Revolution,» he stressed.
However, Trump reiterated that he «would love to» negotiate with Jamenei to defuse bilateral tensions, an offer that the Iranian supreme leader has so far rejected.
«(Jameneí) has the potential to have a great country, and soon, very soon» if it negotiates with the United States, he stressed.
Trump described the sanctions as a «strong and proportionate response to Iran’s provocative acts,» days after assuring that he stopped at the last moment a selective attack on the Persian country on the grounds that it would not have been «proportionate» with respect to the downing of a U.S. drone in the Persian Gulf.
However, when asked whether the sanctions are a retaliation for the drone’s downfall, Trump replied: «This is something that was going to happen anyway.
Mnuchin later pointed out that the sanctions on Jameneí were already being «pre-prepared» for the UAV incident, but said that event – and the recent attacks on cargo ships in the Persian Gulf – did motivate some of the measures announced today by the Treasury Department.
That U.S. agency today imposed financial restrictions on eight Iranian commanders, including that of the Naval Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ali Reza Tangsiri, who leads the «structure responsible for the sabotage of ships in international waters,» according to a statement from the Treasury.
The sanctions also affect Amirali Hayizadeh, commander of the aerospace division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, «whose bureaucracy was responsible for the downing» of the U.S. drone; and Mohamad Pakpur, commander of the land force of that elite corps, for their actions in Syria, according to the Treasury.
In addition, the commanders of the five naval districts of the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution -Abás Gholamshahi, Ramezan Zirahi, Yadollah Badin, Mansur Ravankar and Ali Ozma’i- responsible for naval operations in coastal provinces such as Bushehr, adjacent to the Strait of Ormuz, are subject to the restrictions.