WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday imposing what he called "hard-hitting" sanctions against Iran's supreme leader, his office and those associated with him, as tension continues to rise between the two nations.
“We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country," Trump told reporters gathered at the White House. "I can only tell you, we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon."
The sanctions will deny Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and those closely affiliated with him and his office from accessing financial resources and support under U.S. jurisdiction, Trump said.
"These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran's increasingly provocative actions," the president said.
"We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies."
President Trump has just signed an executive order to deny Iran's Supreme Leader and his associates access to key financial resources and support. pic.twitter.com/14qE9iUe61— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 24, 2019
"I look forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted, and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous, and productive nation." pic.twitter.com/xzRbwGi2L9— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 24, 2019
The sanctions were announced days after Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone flying over the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian officials said the drone had been hovering over the country’s airspace, though U.S. officials said the drone was over international waters when it was shot down.
Last week, Trump ordered a military strike in retaliation for the incident. He said on Twitter that he pulled back from the plan minutes before planes were set to launch after he learned that 150 civilians were expected to die in the attack.
President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran - Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
....Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
....On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
....proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Tensions have been escalating since Trump last year withdrew the U.S. from a global nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.
Iran has decried the U.S. sanctions, which essentially bar Iran from selling its oil internationally, as "economic terrorism."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.