U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced yet another set of sanctions on Iran, this time against Iran’s central bank; as part of Washington’s decision to ratchet up the already-crippling economic pressure against the Islamic Republic. According to a statement from the American leader, President, the punitive financial measures will be “at the highest level.”

Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin explained that the newest decrees target “the last remaining source of funds, so both Central Bank of Iran, as well as the National Development Fund which is their sovereign wealth fund, will be cut off from our banking system.” Mnuchin emphasized that “this will mean no more funds going to the IRGC or to fund terror,” which he said comes “on top of our oil sanctions and our financial institutions sanctions.”

In addition to this fresh round of economic steps, the Pentagon announced the deployment of U.S. military personnel and advance surface-to-air systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as a means to defend the strategic oil installations in both Kingdoms from Iranian aggression. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stressed that the developments are “defensive in nature and, primarily, focused on air and missile defense,” adding that Washington “will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced that Riyadh will decide in what manner and how to respond after the conclusion of investigation into last week’s devastating attacks on the country’s oil installations, irregardless of the many other fingers of blame already pointed at the Islamic Republic of Iran.  While Al-Jubeir acknowledged that “Preliminary investigations confirmed that these are Iranian weapons,” he revealed that authorities have requested that the United Nations also “send experts to contribute” to the investigation” in which “other countries” are already involved.

In response to the growing threats of a military conflagration, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami declared “Our will to react to any kind of invasion is decisive,” stressing that “We are eager to react.” Salami went on to say that “Whoever wants their land to turn into the main battlefield, let it be. We would never let a war reach inside the land of Iran. We will go on until the end.”

The hostile comments by the IRGC’s Chief Commander came during a military parade – during which President Hassan Rouhani proclaimed that in the coming days at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, he will present Iran’s plan to “create security and safety for the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea and the Strait of Hormuz with the help of the countries of the region.” The Iranian President further declared that the increasing number of international forces in the Persian Gulf correspondingly raises the likelihood of a conflict breaking out, saying “the presence of alien forces can be problematic and dangerous for the region, for the international marine lines, for the safety of shipping, and for oil and energy security.”