President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against Iran on Monday, June 24, adding to the already extensive sanctions, which have devastated the Iranian economy.

The new sanctions personally target Iran’s “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Khamenei and those closely surrounding him.

President Trump addressed the media Monday in the Oval Office.

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“OK. Thank you very much. In a few moments I’ll be signing an executive order imposing hard hitting sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran and many others. Today’s action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of U.S. drones,” said the president.

Ayatollah Khamenei is the second supreme leader since the Islamic regime took over Iran in a revolution in 1979. Before the revolution, the Persian people of Iran enjoyed Western freedoms. The ayatollah who is selected by a body of appointed officials is intended to rule the country of 83 million until his death. He is heavily protected by the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard who also protect the Islamic ruling system and crush any uprisings or dissent within Iran. They are part of the military but are also tasked with preventing any coup attempts by the military.

President Trump held the ayatollah personally responsible for Iran’s recent attacks as well as all aggressive actions. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the tarmac on June 23, 2019, before leaving for the Middle East where he was to meet with allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to discuss recent aggressions by the Iranian Islamic regime and the coalescing of international allies for support. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo, Pool)

“The Supreme Leader of Iran is the one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He’s respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.” said the president.

President Trump then said that the Ayatollah is being targeted as a result of his responsibility for the recent attacks and aggressions.

“Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I’m about to sign will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support. The assets of Ayatollah Khamenei and his office will not be spared from the sanctions,” the president said.

President Trump added that the difficulties for Iran will continue to increase if the Iranian regime continues its unacceptable actions, which the president laid out in specifics.

“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 and support of terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) with King Salman at Al Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on June 24, 2019. Pompeo is conducting consultations during a short tour of the Middle East, including visits to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo, Pool)

The president was asked about the recent statement by the Iranian regime saying they would increase their enrichment of uranium beyond previously agreed to limits. Uranium is the key ingredient in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

“I won’t say what I’ll do but I don’t think they should do it,” said President Trump.

Following months of attacks and aggressions by the Iranian regime, including attacks on two oil tankers as well as the downing of the U.S. drone in the past two weeks, President Trump had ordered a targeted military strike against Iran last Thursday night.

He called it off at the last minute after consulting a general who estimated 150 Iranians would be killed. President Trump said the deaths of 150 people was not proportionate to the downing of a drone and called off the strike. However, the president cautioned that things may change moving forward.

“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,” said the president.

On multiple occasions President Trump has stated his fondness for the Iranian people and again reiterated those sentiments.

“But obviously the people of Iran, a great people you, and I know many of them. I lived in New York … haven’t been there very much the last two and a half years. But I know many Iranians living in New York and they’re fantastic people. I have many friends that are Iranian and it’s just it’s very sad what’s happening to that country.”

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