Topline: Just days after an attack on Saudi oil facilities that the U.S. blamed on Iran, President Trump on Friday announced a new round of sanctions targeting the country’s central bank and sovereign wealth fund.
- The U.S. had called the Saudi oil attack an “act of war,” with high-ranking officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury of Secretary Steve Mnuchin accusing Tehran of orchestrating the strikes.
- The sanctions, which Trump called “the strongest sanctions ever put on a country,” target Iran’s central bank and national development fund.
- That will add to existing U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and financial institutions: “This is very big,” Treasury of Secretary Steve Mnuchin said. “We’ve now cut off all source of funds to Iran.”
- Trump also left open the possibility of military intervention, saying he had “plenty of time” to make a decision. The president told reporters that he is “showing great restraint” by choosing sanctions instead of “going into Iran,” but that he is “always prepared” for military action.
- On Thursday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran would respond to a U.S. or Saudi military strike with “an all-out war.”
Key background: The Trump administration has waged a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, ramping up economic sanctions since the country left the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.