President Trump announces the United States will “substantially increase” sanctions targeting Tehran as bilateral tension between Washington and tehran continues to mount.
The president made the announcement Wednesday via twitter saying he had “just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury” to increase the sanctions on Iran which are already crippling its otherwise crumbling economy.
President Trump’s announcement comes just one day after Iran’s supreme leader said there will be no dialogue with the United States at any level, shutting down speculation the leaders would meet face to face at a United Nations meeting in New York next week.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made those remarks Tuesday saying, “There will be no talks with the U.S. at any level,” shutting down the possibility he would meet with President Trump.
Khamenei continued by slamming the U.S. for its “maximum pressure” campaign targeting the Islamic Republic saying, “That’s why all Iranian officials, from the president and the foreign minister to all others have announced that we do not negotiate either bilaterally or multilaterally.”
His comments come after President Trump said the Islamic Republic is likely responsible for an attack on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities which happened over the weekend.
The attack occurred Saturday and reportedly involved drone strikes, which wiped out 5% of the world’s daily oil production prompting prices to soar across the globe.
President Trump issued a stark warning on Sunday saying the U.S. is “locked and loaded”, although he has repeatedly clarified he does not seek regime change or war with Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in on the attack calling it “unprecedented” while dismissing allegations it was carried out by the Houthis.
Although the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, some experts think Iran could have launched the attack from its own soil.
Reports suggest the weapons used in the attack were Iranian, although the Islamic Republic has denied any involvement.
Tension between the U.S. and Iran has soared in the last year and a half following U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Since then, the Iranian economy has struggled to survive American sanctions as the deal’s European signatories continue to try to salvage the accord.