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Trump Announces New Sanctions on Iran's National Bank, Cutting Off Funding to the Islamic Republic

09-20-2019
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump listen as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announces sanctions on Iran in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump listen as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announces sanctions on Iran in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo)

President Trump has announced new sanctions against Iran that he says is the strongest the US has ever imposed. The announcement came Friday during an Oval Office meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia.

"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank, that is their central banking system and it's going to be at the highest level of sanctions," Trump said.

The president then called on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to explain exactly what it means.

"Both the Central Bank of Iran as well as the National Development Fund which is their sovereign wealth fund will be cut off from our banking system," Mnuchin said. "This is very big, we've now cut off all source of funds to Iran."

It is an escalation of the Maximum Pressure Campaign against Iran following the bombing of two oil plants in Saudi Arabia nearly a week ago. Iran has not taken responsibility though Saudi military officials say the weaponry used in the attack came from Iran.

"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We've never done it to this level," Trump said. "It's too bad what's happening to Iran. It's going to hell."

In addition, the president says he and top administration officials will be considering military options against Iran as laid out by the Pentagon.

"It's always possible," Trump said.

But the president said ordering a military strike would be the easy way out, harkening back to his response after Iran took down an unmanned US drone in June over the Persian Gulf.

"I think the strong person's approach and the thing that does show strength would be to show a little restraint," Trump said. "Much easier to do it the other way. Much easier and Iran knows if they misbehave, they're on borrowed time."

Iran's leaders have said if the US initiates military action against them for the Saudi attacks, it will spark "an all-out war." 

President Trump says if that happens, the US will win.

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