Photo Credit: The White House screen grab via Twitter
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, signing executive order.

Seated in the Oval Office of the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order on Monday for a raft of hard-hitting new sanctions on Iran, including those targeting the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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“I look forward to the day when sanctions can finally be lifted, and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous, and productive nation,” Trump said.

The Supreme Leader was singled out because he is considered “ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime,” the president said.

The new sanctions were imposed in response to the Islamic Republic’s attack last week on an American surveillance drone, he said, and “many other things.”

However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchim said the executive order was actually in process before the attack took place.

“ The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action [Monday] against all eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” the Treasury Department statement read.

“These commanders sit atop a bureaucracy that supervises the IRGC’s malicious regional activities, including its provocative ballistic missile program, harassment and sabotage of commercial vessels in international waters, and its destabilizing presence in Syria.”

The sanctions are designed to “reinforce the President’s action in issuing an Executive Order imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the Supreme Leader’s Office,” the statement said.

“The President’s order will deny Iran’s leadership access to financial resources and authorizes the targeting of persons appointed to certain official or other positions by the Supreme Leader or the Supreme Leader’s Office. Moreover, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.

“Today’s action targets commanders of the IRGC’s Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces, in addition to the commanders of the IRGC Navy’s (IRGCN) five naval districts. These include the naval district commanders who are responsible for the IRGCN’s activities off the coast of the southern provinces of Khuzestan, Bushehr, and Hormozgan, which lie adjacent to the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”

The Treasury added the IRGCN Commander Ali Reza Tangsiri was to be sanctions for his actions in “threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, an international waterway, if U.S. sanctions stopped Iran’s oil exports, and that the Iranian regime is prepared to target U.S. interests in the region.”

The commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, Amirali Hajizadeh, was also sanctioned for last week’s June 20 downing of the U.S. unmanned drone. “Hajizadeh [also] oversees Iran’s provocative ballistic missile program.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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