Published: Tue, June 25, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

US Slaps Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei With ‘Hard-Hitting' Sanctions

US Slaps Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei With ‘Hard-Hitting' Sanctions

In May, the Trump administration prohibited the purchase of Iranian iron, steel, aluminum and copper. "Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of United States and the world", Zarif tweeted hours after the sanctions were announced.

The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, visited Oman and was headed to Europe to explain USA policy to allies.

Trump added that Iran's Supreme Leader had "the potential to have a great country, and quickly".

The initial Reuters report last Friday cited two Iranian sources who said that the U.S. president had personally warned Tehran about an incoming attack, which Trump later claimed to have called off at the last minute.

"The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime".

He said that the new action was in response to Iranian escalations in the Gulf, including the downing of a United States drone last Thursday.

"So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation", Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday.

And this week, we watch the administration attempt to rally a global coalition to confront Iran, as the president says: "We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country".

"All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a unsafe journey", Trump said.

"As good and evil can not go together, they are always lined up against one another and this enmity and war is always on overtly and covertly", Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said.

In Abu Dhabi, he said he was hoping that more than 20 countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, would work together on building maritime security. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the action would "literally" lock up "tens and tens of billions of dollars" of Iranian assets.

Between November 2018 and May 2019-the period in which the US slapped sanctions on Iran's oil exports allowing six-month exemptions for the largest buyers, including India, and the end of those waivers in May-Indian refiners bought around 184,000 bpd of USA crude oil, up from just 40,000 bpd in the same period the previous year.

The new sanctions build on a series of previous ones imposed by the United States over the past few months in a bid to isolate the Islamic republic.

The Treasury Department, in a news release, said "any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the US financial system".

Supply still looks to remain relatively tight, as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russian Federation, an alliance known as OPEC+, appear likely to extend a deal on curbing output when they meet on July 1-2 in Vienna, analysts said.

The U.S. already has sanctioned more than 80% of Iran's economy, according to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

Eight commanders from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have also been blacklisted.

A former top United States military advisor warned yesterday that tensions with Iran "could spin out of control" after President Donald Trump's last-minute cancellation of air strikes on the Islamic republic. "I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon", he added.

"You can not start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, who is intimidating you", Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told reporters.

"As long as this threat is there, there is no way that Iran and the USA can start a dialogue", said the ambassador. He said a coalition of nations would provide both material and financial contributions, but did not name the countries.

American media have reported that the USA launched cyber attacks last week even as Trump called off the air strike.

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