Trump hits Iranian bank with ‘highest’ sanctions ever imposed on a country

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US President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he has ordered sanctions on Iran’s national bank following the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

The announcement was made in the Oval Office, where he and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison were scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting.

Trump did not immediately elaborate on the sanctions but noted that they were the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country. The sanctions go “right to the top,” he said.

US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the latest sanctions action against Tehran was ‘very big’ and that it affected the last source of funds for Iran.

The action comes after Washington accused Iran for the weekend attacks on Saudi oil refineries, a charge Tehran has vehemently denied. Trump said on Wednesday that he has ordered the Treasury Department to “substantially increase” sanctions on the country.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the new round of sanctions, calling it a “desperate approach” by Washington. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Saturday that the sanctions against the Iran's Central Bank are “nothing new, but same old bans in different form”. He called on the US to “accept that the policy of sanctions is a failed one.”

The US government has imposed a wide range of sanctions since it abandoned the nuclear pact it had signed in 2015, along with Iran and several other world powers.

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