He is calling Khamenei “responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime.” Explaining the latest action, Donald Trump said the sanctions “will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the new sanctions would “lock up literally billions of dollars of assets.” Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have spiked since May 2018, when Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions on the country. Iran’s oil exports have been hit hard. The American administration has also revoked waivers that allowed eight countries, including China and India, to import Iranian oil despite U.S. sanctions.
Trump specified that economic pressure would be maintained unless Iran’s leadership change the course. He wants to force Tehran to abandon support for militant groups in the Middle East and renegotiate the landmark nuclear accord. President Trump said in an recent interview that he does not want war with Iran but, if it comes, there will be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” Trump has said he remains open to negotiations with Iran, but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei categorically ruled out talks with the Trump administration.