62°F
weather icon Clear

Trump hits Iran with new sanctions

Updated June 24, 2019 - 3:18 pm

WEDNESDAY — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday to impose new sanctions against Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and eight top Islamic Revolutionary Guard commanders.

The White House signaled last week that the administration would amp up its “maximum pressure” economic sanctions in response to growing hostilities between Washington and Tehran that culminated with the downing of a $100 million U.S. drone on June 20. The sanctions are targeted to squeeze commanders stationed near the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, where the drone was shot down, and the financial institutions that assist them.

“These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” Trump said during a Monday morning signing ceremony, days after he decided not to order a retaliatory military strike that could have resulted in 150 Iranian deaths.

While Trump said he did not want to escalate hostility in the wake of the downing of an unmanned drone, Trump repeatedly has warned Iran about his determination not to allow the country to develop a nuclear weapon.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies,” Trump said during a signing ceremony.

Later, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talked to reporters during an eight-minute press briefing – the first such event in the White House in months. “Our issue is not with the people of Iran,” Mnuchin maintained.

Mnuchin said that some of the measures were in the works before the drone was downed and that the administration plans to target Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with sanctions later this week.

“I like this sanctions move today because it really does shine a light on the regime kleptocracy in Iran,” tweeted Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Not enough has been said about how the Supreme Leader has enriched himself and his cronies at the expense of the average Iranian.”

But Georgetown University adjunct associate professor Trita Parsi wrote in the New Republic, “this ‘maximum pressure’ strategy is engineered to corner Trump into war with Iran.” Parsi speculated Trump’s foreign policy whisperers — in his administration and among foreign world leaders – “knew all too well that Tehran inevitably would respond to Washington’s escalations with its own counter-escalations, forcing Trump into a position to order military strikes, lest he come across as weak.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @debrajsaunders on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
English-only education mandate could cease in Arizona

Known as Proposition 203, the 2000 ballot measure forced English-language learners to speak only English and spend a year in immersion classes.

EU ambassador to testify no quid pro quo assurance was Trump’s

Gordon Sondland, Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, is among administration officials being subpoenaed to appear on Capitol Hill this week

Hunter Biden to step down from Chinese board

Hunter Biden announced on Sunday that he will step down from the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity firm at the end of the month as part of a pledge not to work on behalf of any foreign-owned companies should his father win the presidency.