The Trump administration on Friday announced a new round of economic sanctions against Iran in response to the regime’s missile attacks on Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. and coalition forces.
“As long as Iran’s outlaw ways continue, we will continue to impose sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he announced the measures along with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin at a press conference.
Iran launched more than two dozen ballistic missiles Tuesday night targeting Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. and coalition forces in response to the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.
Pompeo and Mnuchin said the sanctions would target individuals involved in Iran’s construction, manufacturing, textile and mining sectors, including its largest steel and iron manufacturers.
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The administration also is issuing sanctions against eight Iranian officials involved in “destabilizing activities" as well as the ballistic missile attack on Iraqi airbases, Pompeo said.
“The president has been very clear: We will continue to apply economic sanctions until Iran stops terrorist activities and commits to never having nuclear weapons,” Mnuchin said.
Trump, in a statement delivered after Mnuchin and Pompeo spoke, said the sanctions “will have a major impact on the Iranian economy” and that they “will remain until the Iranian regime changes its behavior. “
“The United States will continue to counter the Iranian regime’s destructive and destabilizing behavior,” Trump said.
Trump said Thursday that Soleimani had been plotting attacks on multiple embassies and suggested the Iranian commander had been planning specifically to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He specified in a Fox News interview released Friday that four embassies were targeted for attack.
Earlier this week, Pompeo said classified U.S. intelligence showed that Soleimani had been involved in planning an imminent attack on Americans.
Pressed Friday for more details about those claims, Pompeo said, “We had specific information on an imminent threat, and those threats included attacks on U.S. embassies … period, full stop.”
“I don't know completely which minute, we didn't know exactly which day it would've been executed," Pompeo said. "But it was very clear: Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent — against American facilities, including American embassies, military bases, American facilities throughout the region."
“This was going to happen,” he continued. “We would have been culpably negligent had we not recommended to the president to take this action against Qassem Soleimani.”