Donald Trump 'willing' to meet with Iran but offer comes with warning

Daniel Fowler
June 24, 2019

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting Iran's supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions. He says the United States does not seek conflict with Iran but will continue to increase pressure on its Middle East adversary to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups.

The US president announced that major sanctions would be put on Iran soon after he stopped the strikes on targets in the Islamic Republic, which were supposed to be a response for the downing of an American drone.

He also ended waivers that allowed some countries to buy Iranian oil despite the sanctions.

The Treasury Department, in a news release, said "any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the USA financial system".

The US claimed the drone was flying over the global skies, while Iran later revealed sections of the US drone wreckage retrieved from Iranian waters - a piece of evidence which disproved the US claims. "I know many Iranians living in NY, and they're fantastic people", Trump said in response to a question. "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us", Pompeo said.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

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"These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran's increasingly provocative actions", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. On Monday, the president said the sanctions were "bound to happen" and that the drone incident was a factor, but not the sole reason he was signing the executive order.

He said the sanctions will continue to apply pressure on Tehran to return to the table and negotiate a deal that will prohibit Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism.

Trump said the sanctions "will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader's office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support".

As a "deterrent" to Iran, the United States is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East.

Earlier, Trump suggested that the United States should not protect ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz without compensation from other countries. "I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us - a lot of restraint - and that doesn't mean we're going to show it in the future", Mr Trump said. Netanyahu also said Iran must be punished for violating the nuclear agreement.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Iran and maritime security with rich Gulf Arab allies during a trip to the region on Monday.

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