By Kunle Adedoyin
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, saying the move is targeted at Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office.
Even though Trump initially said the sanctions were in response to Tehran’s downing of a U.S. drone last week, he later said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone.
Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace, which Washington has denied.
The United States has also blamed Iran for attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.
Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the United States withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. Trump’s administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.
Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.