As tensions between the United States and Iran threaten to boil over, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday, imposing tough, new sanctions on Tehran.
The punitive measures come a matter of days after Iran shot down a U.S. drone late last week.
"In a few moments I will be signing an executive order imposing hard-hitting sanctions on the Supreme Leader of Iran and the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran, and many others. Today's actions follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down U.S. drones, you shot down the drone its I guess everyone saw that one, and many other things."
The sanctions target Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and others from access to U.S. financial instruments.
According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, the sanctions are aimed at those who ordered the recent provocations.
"Along with our existing sanctions authority we have additional sanctions to go after the Supreme Leader's office and lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets. Along with that action today we are also announcing specific actions targeting those responsible for recent activities."
President Trump said the sanctions would've been imposed even without the downing of the drone.
He pointed to his administration's assessment that Iran was behind attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, something Tehran strongly denies.
The U.S. has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that was sealed under the previous Obama administration.
Despite the latest sanctions, President Trump reiterated the U.S. is ready to negotiate, if Iran is willing to.
"We would love to be able to negotiate a deal if they want to, if they don't want to that's fine too. But we would love to be able to, and frankly they might as well do it soon."
Citing North Korea, Trump said he believes Iran "potentially has a great future", but until a deal is made, sanctions will remain in place.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.