Washington, Sep 20: US President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran’s central bank thus escalating economic pressure on the country.
Calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States,Trump said,”We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank.”
“These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” he said.
“It’s going to hell,” Trump said of Iran’s economy, speaking in the Oval Office where he was hosting the Australian prime minister. “They’re practically broke. They are broke.”
Further other options are also considered by president’s national security advisers who are engaging in preparing list of targets for a potential strike in retaliation for recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after Pompeo blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The Treasury Department said “it was authorizing sanctions on the central bank not only over Iran’s alleged nuclear work but the action targets major sources of funding for the regime’s proxies and terrorist arms, including the IRGC, the Qods Force, Hizballah and the Houthis that destabilize the region.”The Qods Force conducts international operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
Such a designation may be more difficult to lift, even if Trump loses next year’s election to a Democrat who wants to ease sanctions as part of a future deal.
“Iran’s brazen attack against Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,the United States will continue its maximum pressure campaign against Iran’s repressive regime, which attempts to achieve its revolutionary agenda through regional aggression while squandering the country’s oil proceeds,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group and political party in Lebanon, is among Iran’s closest regional partners.
The United States also imposed sanctions on Iran’s sovereign wealth fund, whose board of trustees include President Hassan Rouhani, as well as Etemad Tejarate Pars, a company that the Treasury Department said had sent money internationally on behalf of Iran’s defense ministry.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the National Development Fund of Iran (NDF) which is Iran’s sovereign wealth fund and whose board of trustees include Iran’s president, oil minister, and the governor of the Central Bank, has been a major source of foreign currency and funding for the IRGC-QF and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).Trump last year pulled out of a nuclear accord with Iran negotiated under former president Barack Obama, sending tensions soaring as he tried to stop all countries from buying Iran’s oil.
By Arti Bali