What Happened: The White House has imposed new sanctions against Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and potential government appointees in the country, according to a June 24 executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department has announced additional sanctions against eight senior commanders of Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as well. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that Washington plans to announce sanctions targeting Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the coming days.
Why It Matters: The U.S. sanctions that have so far been announced will freeze the assets of some of the IRGC's commanders, as well as various public officials close to Khamenei. However, it remains unclear what other individuals the United States will add to its sanctions list beyond Zarif. It will be important to see whether the slated sanctions against the foreign minister will include exceptions for his frequent diplomatic travels to places such as Europe and China.
Background: On June 22, Trump announced that the United States would impose "major" sanctions against Iran in retaliation for the recent downing of a U.S. drone by the IRGC. The White House has so far held off from responding with an overt military strike against Tehran, though recent reports have indicated that Washington did conduct a cyberattack on the IRGC's computer systems that control its rocket and missile launchers.
- Iran, U.S.: The Lack of a U.S. Military Response to Iran Does Not Signal All Clear (June 21, 2019)
- Iran, U.S.: Iran's Downing of a U.S. Drone Invites Military Response (June 20, 2019)
- Iran Decides Its Best Defense Is Bravado (June 14, 2019)