President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing “hard-hitting” new sanctions on Iran in response to the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone last week.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran, until the regime abandons its dangerous activities” including its nuclear ambitions, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
“We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country,” Trump added. “I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
The new sanctions deny Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office access to key financial resources, according to NBC News. Khamenei’s assets are not spared from the new measures.
Trump had announced over the weekend his plans to slap additional sanctions on Iran to deter the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. The U.S. already has sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and other sectors.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have grown since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the multilateral Iran nuclear deal that had been brokered during the Obama administration. Some sanctions that had been lifted under that deal snapped back into effect after the U.S. pulled out.
Those tensions ratcheted up in recent weeks, following attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz that the U.S. alleges were executed by Iran. Iran denies that it carried out the attacks.
Last Thursday, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an American surveillance drone that the U.S. says had been in international airspace. Iran maintains that the drone was flying in its airspace in violation of international law.