US President Donald Trump announced on Friday new sanctions against the Iranian banking system, saying they were "the most severe ever imposed on a country."
"We just sanctioned Iran's national bank. We just did it," Trump said from the Oval Office of the White House following a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
According to Trump, the new sanctions "go directly to the highest level" and explained that this entity acts as the Iranian central bank.
The new sanctions follow Saturday's drone attacks on an Saudi oil field in which Washington blamed Iran, which is denied by Tehran.
The United States has already had a series of sanctions on Iran since its abandonment of the nuclear deal in November 2018.
Speaking to reporters, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the latest sanctions imposed on Iran show that the United States is maintaining "maximum pressure" on Tehran.
"We now cut all the funds for Iran," he said, explaining that this is "the last source of income from the Iranian central bank and the National Development Fund."
"This means that sovereign wealth funds will be cut from our banking system, so no more money will go to the Revolutionary Guards to finance terrorism," he added.
According to the US Treasury, the Iranian central bank and the National Development Fund have "funded the" Revolutionary Guards "and its" Qods Force ", which is in charge of foreign operations, and" his terrorist ally, the Lebanese "Hezbollah".
The three groups are considered by Washington as "terrorist organizations".
The Iranian central bank and most Iranian financial entities have been under US sanctions since November 2018 following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
On the other hand, the governor of Iran's central bank was incorporated in May 2018 into the "blacklist" drawn up by the United States for "terrorist financing."
On Wednesday, the US president announced he had ordered a "substantial increase" in sanctions against Iran following the controversy created by the attack on Saudi refineries.
"I have just ordered the Treasury Secretary to substantially increase sanctions against Iran," Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump plans to examine various military options against Iran on Friday but remains reluctant to authorize large-scale intervention in retaliation for Saturday's attacks.
According to The New York Times, several members of Trump's national security team will have been meeting on Thursday to finalize a list of possible targets in Iran that Washington could strike.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford are due to present these options to Trump later Friday during a White House National Security Council meeting, the same newspaper added.
The New York Times, citing an official source, also points out that among the Pentagon's options, the possibility of large-scale attacks is not included, focusing more on "clandestine operations" where Iran launches. drones and cruise missiles, as well as ammo storages.
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