WASHINGTON (CN) – Amid rising international tensions, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is ordering new sanctions on Iran’s industrial metal exports.
The executive order to sanction Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors came a year after Washington’s split from the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Tehran, which lifted international sanctions in exchange for a 10-year restriction on uranium enrichment.
“We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today’s action will further strengthen,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday.
According to the International Trade Administration, Iran exports steel to 120 countries and territories, having exported 9.24 million metric tons of the metal last year.
U.S. sanctions imposed on most Iranian oil exports have also burdened the country economically.
The announcement of new metal sanctions comes just days after the U.S. military deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers into the Persian Gulf in response to perceive threats against U.S. forces in the region.
“We call on the regime to abandon its nuclear ambitions, change its destructive behavior, respect the rights of its people, and return in good faith to the negotiating table,” Trump said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address before Trump’s announcement Wednesday that the country may continue the enrichment of uranium, which is used in nuclear reactors, if nothing is done to improve economic conditions within 60 days.
Iran did not announce a decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, but Rouhani’s statement implies the country could backtrack on one requirement of the agreement that calls for Iran to export excess uranium abroad.
Trump said Wednesday that since the United States’ exit from the Iran deal last year, Washington has put forward 12 conditions that would form the basis of a new comprehensive agreement with Iran, including requirements that Tehran refrain from plutonium enrichment, condemn terrorists and cease all nuclear programs.
Trump threatened in his statement to take further actions unless Iran “fundamentally alters its conduct.”