June 24 (UPI) — U.S. President Donald Trump signed new sanctions against Iran Monday, saying he intends to keep up pressure on the Middle Eastern regime after weeks of rising tensions that nearly led to U.S. military strikes.
Trump called the new punitive measures “hard-hitting.”
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Trump told reporters after signing the new sanctions. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
“We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country,” he added. “I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future.”
The new sanctions target eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for “malicious regional activities, including its provocative ballistic missile program, harassment and sabotage of commercial vessels in international waters, and its destabilizing presence in Syria.”
The sanctions will deny those leaders access to the U.S. banking industry and any entities working with them will be cut off from the U.S. financial system.
“The United States is targeting those responsible for effectuating the Iranian regime’s destructive influence in the Middle East,” Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “IRGC commanders are responsible for the Iranian regime’s provocative attacks orchestrated in internationally recognized waters and airspace, as well as Iran’s malign activities in Syria.”
The new round of sanctions follows a week of escalating tensions. Iran’s military shot down a U.S. drone last week — after which Trump authorized, but later called off, retaliation strikes against Iranian targets.
Iran said Monday a U.S. cyberattack that targeted Iranian missile systems failed. U.S. officials have not confirmed any such attempt.