Amid growing tensions between the two countries, US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order, imposing a "hard-hitting" sanction on Iran. The new sanctions will further deny the Iranian Supreme Leader and other officials’ access to financial instruments within US jurisdiction. Speaking to reporters at his Oval Office in Washington, the United States President said, "We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country," adding that "I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon".
Trump said that the executive order signed by him will impose "hard hitting" sanction on Iran and it will deny the Iranian Supreme Leader and other officials access to financial instruments. He signed the order in presence of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"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," Trump said. "We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran," he stated.
When asked if his executive order was in response to the Iranian attack on US drone, Trump replied "you could probably add that into this" but then said, "this was something that was going to happen anyway". "I know many Iranians living in New York, and they're fantastic people," Trump said in response to a question.
As part of the expanded sanctions, the United States has also decided to blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed.
While eight top military commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards have now been blacklisted, Zarif would be added to an economic sanctions list "later this week, Mnuchin told media.
Trump's move to impose fresh set of sanctions on Iran comes days after Tehran said it shot down an American drone in the region on Thursday. However, Trump denies the drone, valued at more than USD 100 million, violated Iranian airspace, saying he backed away from planned strikes after learning that 150 people would be killed in the military action.
Tensions have been escalating between the United States and Iran since Trump last year withdrew the US from a global nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.
(With inputs from agencies)