- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2019

President Trump said Friday he’s imposing economic sanctions on Iran’s national bank that go “right to the top,” as his administration plots a response to Tehran’s alleged role in attacking Saudi oil fields.

“Highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” Mr. Trump said in a White House meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Last weekend’s drone attack on fields east of Riyadh disrupted the global oil supply.

Mr. Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to coordinate a response to the blitz. U.S. officials have pointed fingers at Iran, without explicitly saying the Iranian government itself ordered the assault on the Abqaiq oil facility or that the drones and cruise missiles were launched from Iranian soil.

Top Iranian officials warned they would respond to an attack with “all-out war.”

Mr. Trump acknowledged that some people want him to strike Iran, while others are “so thrilled” with his sanctions-heavy approach.

“I think the sanctions work, and the military would work,” Mr. Trump said at press conference with Mr. Morrison, though added: “That’s a very severe form of winning.”

Mr. Trump said Iran could be a “great country, a rich country.”

But they are choosing to go a different way,” he said. “They will be very sorry for that choice.”

Describing new sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the central bank has sent billions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and terrorist proxies.

“Iran’s brazen attack against Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “Treasury’s action targets a crucial funding mechanism that the Iranian regime uses to support its terrorist network, including the Qods Force, Hezbollah and other militants that spread terror and destabilize the region. The United States will continue its maximum pressure campaign against Iran’s repressive regime, which attempts to achieve its revolutionary agenda through regional aggression while squandering the country’s oil proceeds.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed the sanctions in a separate statement, saying Iran must face consequences for its aggression in the Middle East.

“Attacking other nations and disrupting the global economy has a price, he said. “The regime in Tehran must be held accountable through diplomatic isolation and economic pressure.”

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