Friday, 23 August, 2019

U.S. Announces New Iran Sanctions Days After Aborted Military Strike

US launches cyber-attack, imposes 'major' sanctions on Iran Report: US retaliates against Iran with cyber-attack following drone downing
Patty Aguilar | 25 June, 2019, 09:06

The trip was announced after Donald Trump said the USA was "cocked and loaded" to retaliate against Iran for downing an American drone.

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

Trump said the sanctions "will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leaders office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support".

USA media have reported that the United States launched cyber attacks even as Trump called off the air strike.

In an interview with NBC aired on June 23, Trump reiterated that he doesn't want war with Iran, but if it comes, "it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before".

Iran has remained steadfast in its position that if the United States wants talks, it should reenter the JCPOA.

The sanctions were announced as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began recruiting allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to help monitor threats from Iran in the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. decision is another indication it "has no respect for global law and order", he said. "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us", Pompeo said.

Separately, Iranian crude exports have dropped so far in June to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) or less after the USA tightened the screws on Tehran's main source of income, industry sources said and tanker data showed, deepening global supply losses.

They did not provide further details about the secret operations under consideration by the White House, the report said.

He added that the proposed talks between the two countries were "not about the oil". "I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us - a lot of restraint - and that doesn't mean we're going to show it in the future", Mr Trump said.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons and refers to a religious decree issued in the early 2000s by Khamenei that bans the development or use of nuclear weapons.

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This added to tensions stoked by attacks on oil tankers in the area in May and June that Washington has blamed on Iran. A fresh round of Iran sanctions is to be announced Monday in a bid to force the Iranian leadership into talks.

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In comments made a few hours after the incident, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami said the shooting down of the U.S. aircraft had a straightforward message that any foreign intrusion into Iran's sovereign territories would draw a crushing response. Trump could also hit Iran's central bank with secondary sanctions, but that would come at the risk of hurting humanitarian trade.

Last year, Trump unilaterally pulled the USA out of a landmark 2015 deal meant to curb Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. His action came after Iran had shot down a United States drone in the Gulf last week, describing it as a "firm response" to Washington.

UN diplomats said the United States pressed to have a mention of a "state actor" responsible for the tanker attacks in the press statement, but that Russian Federation rejected the language.

"An extension of OPEC+ production cuts through the end of the year seems highly likely given recent price action", United States investment bank Jefferies said in a note. "I'm not going to identify which is which".

Pompeo also met with King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Monday in Saudi Arabia, which has signed onto the plan.

Earlier this month, the U.S. accused Iran of targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman. "Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of United States and the world", Zarif tweeted.

In a pair of tweets on Monday, Trump told other countries to protect their own Gulf oil shipments and declared the United States has only limited strategic interest in the "dangerous" region. While cyber-raids by Iran are nothing new, the aggressive deleting of data from hard drives and other storage gear is apparently cause for concern.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton stepped in during a visit to Jerusalem Sunday with a blunt warning, saying Iran should not "mistake USA prudence and discretion for weakness" after Trump called off the military strike.

Trump said he decided the strike would have killed too many people. "But it's now clear that the #B_Team is not concerned with U.S. interests - they despise diplomacy, and thirst for war".

US President Donald Trump has not commented publicly on the attack, which was reportedly launched on Thursday.

France, Britain and Germany have sent an official diplomatic warning to Iran if Tehran reduces its compliance with the accord, two European diplomats said on Monday.

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