US President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran on Monday following Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the US and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called “the hostile conduct of the regime.” “Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... 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,” Trump said.
The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region. Iran said on Monday US cyber attacks on its military had failed, as Washington sought to rally support in the West Asia and Europe for a hardline stance that has brought it to the verge of conflict with its longtime foe. Washington has blamed Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf in recent weeks, which Iran denies. On Monday, the United States said it was building a coalition with allies to protect Gulf shipping lanes.