NEW YORK: The United States announced harsh new sanctions on Iran as tensions surge between the decades-long rivals.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday to sanction Iran’s steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors, which provide crucial foreign currency earnings for its crippled economy. Trump also threatened further action unless Tehran “fundamentally” changed its behaviour.
The move came after Tehran earlier said it was quitting parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which Washington abandoned in 2018 and ignited the current crisis. The metals sector is the Islamic Republic’s largest non-petroleum-related source of export revenue and represents 10 percent of its export economy, a statement from the White House said.
“Because of our action, the Iranian regime is struggling to fund its campaign of violent terror as its economy heads into an unprecedented depression, government revenue dries up, and inflation spirals out of control,” Trump said in a statement.
“We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today’s action will further strengthen.”
After a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in London, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the nuclear deal was “a very important achievement of Western diplomacy”, though Russia and China were also part of the negotiations and agreement.
“Iran does not have nuclear weapons and its neighbours have not responded by getting nuclear weapons,” Hunt said. “It would be a massive step back for the region if it became nuclearised.