Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed fresh sanctions targeting Tehran as both countries escalate their rhetoric over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The White House announced sanctions on the steel, aluminum and copper sectors of the country hours after Iran said it would stop complying with certain parts of the Obama-era nuclear agreement.

President Trump's executive order imposing new sanctions on Tehran also came on the 1-year anniversary of his announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear deal.

"It remains the policy of the United States to deny Iran all paths to both a nuclear weapon and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and to counter the totality of Iran's malign influence in the Middle East," Trump said in the order released Wednesday.

"It is also the policy of the United States to deny the Iranian government revenue, including revenue derived from the export of products from Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, that may be used to provide funding and support for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups and networks, campaigns of regional aggression, and military expansion."

The sanctions could impact other countries conducting trade with Iran, and Trump warned in a statement that the executive order "puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated."

The Trump administration has steadily increased pressure on Iran over the last year since pulling out of the Obama-era deal, despite concerns from international allies. The pact, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided Tehran with sanctions relief in exchange for measures to curb its nuclear program.

The administration previously targeted Iran with sanctions against financial institutions and the country's oil industry, which serves as its largest revenue producer. Iran's metal sector is another major source of revenue, accounting for roughly 10 percent of its export economy.

Last month, the Trump administration labeled Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization."

On Sunday, national security adviser John Bolton also announced the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East. Officials have cited a "credible threat" from Iran, but have not elaborated on the cause.

Trump said in a statement announcing the metal sanctions Wednesday that "Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct."

"I look forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves," he said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said earlier in the day that Tehran would begin to build its stockpiles of low enriched uranium. He added that he would wait 60 days to take further action, giving other nations that are still part of the nuclear agreement the option of engaging with Tehran on trade or following Trump in abandoning the deal.
Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher is the editor and publisher of High Plains Pundit. Dan is also the host of the popular High Plains Pundit Podcast.

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