Trump Puts 'Highest Sanctions Ever' On Iran, Sends Troops And Air And Missile Defense to Saudi Arabia

Chris Menahan
Sep. 23, 2019

The Trump administration is maxing out sanctions on Iran and also sending US troops and air and missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia even though both chambers of congress voted to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

From Politico, "Trump announces 'highest sanctions ever' targeting Iran's central bank":
President Donald Trump on Friday shared details of his administration’s newest sanctions on Iran, targeting the Islamic Republic's national bank over Tehran’s alleged involvement in a series of drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities last weekend.

Trump claimed they would be the “highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” telling reporters in the Oval Office that the penalties would go “right to the top” of the Iranian government.

“You will be seeing certain things happening but a very major factor is what we did,” Trump said during a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “The highest sanctions ever imposed on a country. We've never done it to this level.”

The latest sanctions layer on top of a slew of other penalties the Trump administration has imposed and reimposed as a result of Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers. The existing sanctions have already targeted Iran’s oil exports, its metal and mining industries and its ability to receive financing from international banks. Tehran has repeatedly likened the sanctions to “economic warfare.”

The new sanctions will affect “the last remaining source of funds for both the central bank of Iran, as well as the national development fund -- which is their sovereign wealth fund,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Friday. “This is very big -- we've now cut off all source of funds to Iran.”
These sanctions are also limiting Iranian's access to medical supplies.

The whole scene, with Mnuchin coming in to talk for Trump, was very cringe:

It needs to be noted that these sanctions are not only targeting Iran but every country which does business with Iran. The entire world is supposed to respect these sanctions to be on good terms with the US empire.

Enigma Public has a useful "sanctions tracker" showing how the US now has sanctions on what looks like 30 percent of the globe:




Trump also ordered US troops be sent to Saudi Arabia along with air and missile defense systems.
The US announced Friday it would send additional troops along with enhanced air and missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the attack on Saudi oil facilities, which the US has blamed on Tehran.

Describing the attack as a "dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that the troops would be "defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense" following the attacks on Saudi oil facilities attacks which Esper said "all indications are that Iran was responsible for."

"Right now we're focused on helping the Saudis improve their defense infrastructure," Esper said. The administration's goal is to send a "clear message" that the United States supports its partners in the region, will defend the free flow of commerce through the Persian Gulf and demonstrate its commitment to the rules-based international order.

"As the President has made clear, the United States does not seek conflict with Iran," Esper said, "that said, we have many other military options available should they be necessary."
Our troops are supposed to fight and die to protect global finance capitalism. Nice of Esper make that explicit.

Here's the exact quote:
"The purpose of the additional defensive support we will provide is as follows. First, to send a clear message that the United States supports our partners in the region. Second, to ensure the free flow of resources necessary to support the global economy. And third, to demonstrate our commitment to upholding the international rules-based order that we have long called on Iran to obey."
CNN continues:
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Friday the US hadn't "decided on specific units" for air defense assets but said "it would be capabilities to enhance their air and missile defense."

"It's now my job to come back to the Secretary with the details of what we believe would meet the Saudis' requirements and is sustainable," Dunford said.
We need to do whatever the Saudis want, as Trump said last week.

We need that "mutual defense treaty" with Israel ASAP too!

Boris Johnson threw his support behind the US:
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday blamed Iran for the recent attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and said that the U.K. would consider taking part in U.S.-led military actions to support Saudi defenses.

While flying to New York late Sunday for the U.N. General Assembly, Johnson told reporters "the U.K. is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran" for the attack by drones and cruise missiles.

"We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region," Johnson said.
The Japanese, on the other hand, have said there's no evidence Iran was behind the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities.

As Reuters reported on Wednesday:
Japan has not seen any intelligence that shows Iran was involved in the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, Japan’s new defense chief said on Wednesday.

"We are not aware of any information that points to Iran," Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters at a briefing. "We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility," he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Thursday that any attack on Iran would be met with "all out war."

Nancy Pelosi, perhaps not so surprisingly with 2020 around the corner, criticized Trump's move:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the Trump Administration's plans to accelerate arms sales and send additional forces to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as bypassing Congress' intent.

Pelosi called the response "the latest outrageous attempt by the Trump Administration to circumvent the bipartisan, bicameral will of Congress," adding in a statement Saturday: "These unacceptable actions are cause for alarm."

The speaker's ire follows an announcement from the Pentagon Friday that it would send additional troops and enhanced air and missile defense systems to the two countries in response to the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, which the US has blamed on Tehran.

"Americans are weary of war, and have no interest in entering another Middle East conflict, particularly on behalf of Saudi Arabia," Pelosi argued. "They will not stand by while the President undermines our security and jeopardizes the lives of our brave service members."

[...] Pelosi noted that both chambers voted to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE earlier this summer. In July, Trump vetoed three joint resolutions prohibiting arms sales to the two countries.
Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio also spoke out against the decision:

As did Republican-turned Independent Justin Amash:

In November 2018, President Trump gave an interview to the Washington Post (which they buried) where he said he'd like to pull out of the Middle East entirely but Israel is "one reason" to remain.

Trump also said his support for the Saudis is because they provide a "counterbalance to Iran" and "without them, Israel would be in a lot more trouble."

No doubt our brave soldiers being sent off to guard Saudi Arabia will take solace knowing they're being shipped off to the Middle East to defend a foreign power.

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