After pulling back from military action last week, President Trump today signed an executive order to authorize increased economic sanctions against Iran. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced Trump’s executive order during a briefing this afternoon.

“Along with our existing sanctions authority, we have additional sanctions to go after the supreme leader’s office and lock up literally billions of dollars [worth] of assets,” Mnuchin stated.

He indicated that “specific actions” have also been authorized to target Iran’s leadership, including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and members of his leadership council.

Mnuchin identified several of Iran’s military commanders by name, including Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s air force, who is believed to be responsible for the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone flying in international airspace last week.

According to Reuters, the new sanctions seek to deny Iran’s leadership access to financial assets in the United States, as well as further use of the U.S. financial system. The White House believes that these new sanctions will be significant enough to impact Iran’s economy.

While last week’s incident involving an American drone has raised tensions between the two countries, the Trump administration had discussed imposing these sanctions for several weeks, as it seeks to open talks on Iran’s nuclear defense programs, missile programs, and military activities in the region.

Last month, the United States announced that it would block the import of Iranian oil and seek to restrict Iran’s oil imports in other countries. At the time, Trump issued a statement, saying, “We call on the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its destructive behavior, respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table.”

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