Donald Trump imposes tough sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top army commanders

Washington: In the wake of the Iranian downing of a US drone, America has imposed tough financial sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and top eight commanders of his army.

President Donald Trump told reporters the sanctions 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.

“Today’s actions follow a series of aggressive behaviours by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of US drones,” Trump said, flanked by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence.

“The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the unfriendly behavior of the regime. He’s regarded within his country. His office manages the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the President said of Khamenei.

Until now, the US sanctions against Iran have targeted broad economic sectors and government entities, such as the Revolutionary Guard, as opposed to specific individuals.

At the same time, Trump reiterated his desire for negotiations with Iran to reduce tensions, a proposal that Khamenei has refused.

“I think a lot of control has been shown by us and that doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future,” the President said. “But I felt I wanted to give this a chance, give it a good chance. Because I think Iran has potentially a remarkable future.”

“These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” Trump said, days after vetoing a military response to the downing of the drone on the grounds that the likely fatalities from strikes on Iran would be “disproportionate” relative to the Iranian attack on an unmanned aircraft.

Among the “provocative actions” by Iran, he pointed to the downing of the drone and attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, though he denied a direct link between the drone incident and the new sanctions.

“This was something that was going to happen anyway,” Trump said.