WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump rolled out new economic sanctions Monday targeting the highest level of the Iranian government – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates.
The announcement made to reporters in the Oval Office comes only days after the president called off a direct strike on multiple Iranian targets in response to the country downing a U.S. surveillance drone.
The new sanctions block Khamenei and others, including senior military leaders, from access to any financial assets under U.S. jurisdiction.
Trump said the U.S. will continue to pressure Iran until it abandons its pursuit of nuclear weapons and halts the development of ballistic missiles and support to terrorism activities abroad.
In a press conference at the White House, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin declined to say whether the individuals targeted by the sanctions hold assets outside of Iran, citing an inability to divulge intelligence information.
“But I will say, we follow the money and it’s highly effective,” Mnuchin said Monday.
The president again condemned the 2015 nuclear deal made under the Obama administration as a short term solution to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
“Within a very short number of years, they would be able to make nuclear weapons and that’s unacceptable. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said.
The U.S. did not consult with its allies on the new sanctions, Mnuchin said, adding he is certain it will be a topic of discussion at this week’s G20 summit.
The secretary confirmed the sanctions freezing billions of dollars in Iranian assets are in direct response to the shooting down of the drone last week, but said they had been built on plans already in the works.
“There is no question that locking this money up worked last time and there’s no question locking the money up works now,” Mnuchin said.