Published: Mon, June 24, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

US Hits Iran with Cyberattack, Launches New Sanctions to Cripple Iran's Economy

US Hits Iran with Cyberattack, Launches New Sanctions to Cripple Iran's Economy

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday targeting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials with financial sanctions. "We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its unsafe pursuits, including nuclear weapons, enrichment of uranium, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts against the United States and its allies".

Days later, Iran shot down a USA drone over the Strait of Hormuz, claiming it had violated Iran's air space.

Tensions spiked in recent weeks following a string of attacks on commercial tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for global oil shipments.

Joneidi further denounced the United States move to deploy a spy drone into Iranian airspace as a "violation of the worldwide law", noting that Tehran will be taking judicial measures in this regard.

The sultanate of Oman, meanwhile, said reports that it had served as a back channel for the United States to Iran in the aftermath of last week's drone shooting were "not true". "Iran's killed many, many people a day", Trump told NBC.

On Monday, Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said no cyberattack against his country had ever succeeded.

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Iran says its decision to reduce commitments to the JCPOA, given the current status of the deal, is within its rights under the agreement, adding that at any given time that its demands are met, it will resume complying with the suspended commitments, which have been made impossible to continue due to the United States measures and sanctions.

Trump signed the order in the Oval Office flanked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence.

"I thought about it for a second, I said, they shot down an unmanned drone, a plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with 150 dead people", Trump said. I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us, a lot of restraint.

These sanctions come in addition those announced by the USA earlier since President Trump pulled the United States out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also called the Iran nuclear deal) demanding Iran should shut down its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes and give up "malign activities" in the region.

Iran insists that it does not have a nuclear weapons program. India also raised the volumes it took from Venezuela in that period to fill the Iranian oil gap.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are alarmed by Iran's military reach and are working to limit its influence in the region. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is behind the attacks. Until it does, our campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure will continue.

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