WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Trump Administration announced harsh financial sanctions on the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in response the downing of a $130 million surveillance drone in international airspace. This comes after the president reportedly pulled back after strike plans had already been initiated, owing the decision to the estimated 150 deaths it would cause being a disproportionate response to the loss of s surveillance drone.
From Fox News:
“[…] Trump said the sanctions “will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support.” Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions “lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.”
“Along with that action today, we are also announcing specific actions targeting those responsible for recent activities,” Mnuchin said, adding that the president has instructed him to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “later this week.”
The Treasury Department, in a news release, said “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system. […]”
The sanctions pressure will likely increase as foreshadowed by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. After Trump pulled back on strikes following the downing of the drone, some lambasted President Trump for sending signals of weakness (to put it politely). Erring on the side of life and caution to not precipitate an escalating destabilization in one of the most unstable parts of the world hardly seems like a “chicken” move. It’s not as if the American people do not know where Trump stands on Iran and the duo of leaders, the apocalyptic theocracy and its state-sponsored terrorist force.
Moreover, once the full stock is taken of the president’s response to the increasing Iranian aggression it might not seem so insufficient. These sanctions come in addition to a US Military cyber attack against key assets in Iran. The attack targeted weapons systems and radar that enabled the successful drone strike possible and demonstrated just hot severely the US can disrupt cyber systems critical to war fighting.
In this sense the United States is counterattacking, just in a world of 1s and 0s that involves less physical destruction and loss of life. The sanctions, if enforced to the letter, will further strangle the Iranian leadership as they continue to struggle with a weak sanction laden economy and years of bubbling social unrest.
Though more discreet, these responses should not be dismissed as paltry. Especially considering their avoidance of unintended consequences. Indeed, the decisions are consistent with Trump’s stated orientation against foreign entanglements and destabilizing the Middle East specifically. He campaigned against the Iraq War.
One might think the Left would look kindly on such a deference to peace coming from the Oval Office, but then you’d have to assume the Left could look kindly upon anything emanating from Trump.