September 17, 2021

Trump says he will ‘substantially’ increase sanctions on Iran | TheHill

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: ‘I hope there’s an age limit’ on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE on Wednesday said that he has instructed Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Trump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn’t want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities ‘unprecedented’ | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE to “substantially” increase economic sanctions on Iran. 

Trump announced the move on Twitter. It comes after Trump administration officials have blamed Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil sites over the weekend. Trump did not mention the attacks on the oil facilities specifically in the tweet.

“I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” the president, who is on a fundraising tour through California, tweeted.

I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019 

The White House did not immediately return a request for clarification on whether the president had announced the sanctions in response to the attacks. 

The Trump administration has been mulling a response to the attacks on the oil sites in Saudi Arabia that happened Saturday. Trump told reporters earlier this week that Iran appeared to be responsible but that he was waiting on final analysis from U.S. officials.

Trump initially hinted at potential military action — saying the U.S. was “locked and loaded” and waiting for confirmation and direction from Saudi Arabia in a tweet on Sunday — but appeared to soften his rhetoric a day later.

Trump on Monday said he wants to avoid war with Iran, while also warning that the United States was more prepared than any other nation for armed conflict.

“Do I want war? I don’t want war with anybody,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon, adding: “We have the strongest military in the world.”

“We have a lot of options, but I’m not looking at options right now. We want to find definitively who did this,” Trump later said.   

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump fires back at Graham over Iran criticism Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US ‘locked and loaded’ to defend allies | Iran’s leader rules out talks with US Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE, who publicly blamed Iran for the attacks over the weekend, is currently traveling to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attacks and “coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region,” according to the State Department. 

Iran has denied involvement in the attacks. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for it.

The Trump administration has levied increased sanctions on Iran after the president withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between six countries and Iran last year.

The Treasury Department did not immediately return a request for more information.

Updated at 9:24 a.m.

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Morgan Chalfant
The Hill

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