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.
The sanctions target Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei( ), blocking him, 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.
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."
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council expressed concerns, and called for both sides to solve the dispute peacefully through talks.
The council unanimously signed a press statement urging concerned parties to exercise maximum restraint and take measures to end tensions.
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations however, said that conditions were not ripe for dialogue with Washington, saying the sanctions show no respect for international law.
"..Today we just witnessed that the United States imposed another set of sets of sanctions against Iran. How can you start a dialogue with somebody whose primary preoccupation is to put more sanctions on Iran? So that the atmosphere of such a dialogue is not ready yet."
Iran's Foreign Ministry said Washington's latest move has permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also took to Twitter, claiming that hawkish politicians close to President Trump are thirsty for war rather than diplomacy.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.