US piles on the sanctions pain against Iran

Business

US piles on the sanctions pain against Iran

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States piled new sanctions on Iran's already crippled economy Friday and defended the killing of a top Iranian leader, saying he had been planning an “imminent” attack on US embassies.

The sanctions, announced at the White House, marked the latest salvo in a US-Iranian confrontation that risked sliding into war a week ago with the deadly US drone attack on general Qasem Soleimani, by some measures the second most influential person in Iran.

In response, Iran fired volleys of ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops, without causing casualties.

While President Donald Trump said he would not respond further militarily, Washington is intent on maintaining pressure.

The sanctions mean “we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House.

The measures targeting Iran's steel industry and eight state officials came on top of massive sanctions already aimed at bringing the country's economy to its knees.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that sanctions so far “have deprived the regime of billions in revenue.”

“Oil revenues (are) down by 80 per cent and Iran cannot access roughly 90 per cent of its foreign policy reserves,” he said. “As long as Iran's outlaw ways continue we will continue to impose sanctions.”

Among the senior Iranian officials targeted in the new measures were Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, the Iranian armed forces deputy chief of staff and Gholamreza Soleimani, the head of the Basij militia, a volunteer force loyal to the regime.

Seventeen Iranian metals producers and mining companies were listed.

The sanctions also included a network of three entities that are based in China and the Seychelles as well as a vessel “involved in the purchase, sale, and transfer of Iranian metals products,” the Treasury said in a statement.

IMMINENT THREAT QUESTIONED

Critics are questioning why Trump — who has been impeached and faces a Senate trial in the coming days — ordered Soleimani's killing last week.

The administration has pushed back against accusations that Trump acted recklessly, insisting that longtime US foe Soleimani was on the brink of launching an attack and had to be stopped.

On Thursday, Trump said that Soleimani had been planning to blow up the US embassy in Baghdad. However, officials did not back up that scenario.

On Friday, Trump shifted, saying “probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.”

“I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies,” Trump added in an excerpt of an interview due to air later on Fox News.

Earlier, Pompeo said the US had “specific information” on “imminent” attacks “against American facilities, including American embassies, military bases.”

But “we don't know exactly which day it would've been executed,” he said.

The United States has been at loggerheads with Iran, a fierce regional rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, for decades.

Soon after Trump came into office he withdrew from an international accord meant to give Iran the ability to develop civilian nuclear power while under supervision. Trump claimed that Tehran was cheating and trying to obtain a nuclear weapon.

At a reelection campaign rally in Ohio on Thursday, Trump referred to Soleimani as “the world's top terrorist.”

“He was a bloodthirsty terror and he's no longer a terror. He's dead.”


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT