US hits Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei
Live Correspondent: The United States imposed sanctions Monday against Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top military chiefs, tightening the screws on a country that President Donald Trump threatened with “obliteration” if it seeks war.
Signing the punitive financial measures in the Oval Office, Trump called them a “strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions.” Repeating that “never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said it’s now up to Tehran which insists it is not seeking nuclear capability to negotiate.
The US Treasury said it will blacklist Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif — a moderate figure and key architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — and eight top commanders from Iran’s elite military force, the Revolutionary Guards, targeting billions of dollars in assets in all.
On Sunday, Trump told an NBC television interview that if it came to war, Iran would experience “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” Despite this, he has repeatedly said he’s open to negotiations with Iran’s leaders.
The complex international pact signed by Tehran in 2015 was meant to ensure that its nuclear industry sticks to civilian uses. Trump, however, pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, seeking its collapse, because he believes it let Iran off the hook.
The US-Iranian dispute is bound up in a complex web of regional rivalries, with US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel long pushing Washington to act aggressively against Iran.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his country, which is widely believed to have an undeclared nuclear arsenal, would do “everything” to stop Iran getting such a weapon.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Monday with leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, telling them to contribute more to maritime surveillance duties near Iran.
Although Trump backed away from a bombing strike in retaliation for last week’s drone downing, US media reports said a US cyber attack took place against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network.
Dhaka 25 June (campuslive24.com)//MIH