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NO USE IRAN INTERNATIONAL*~ (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF TREASURY STEVE MNUCHIN, SAYING: "We are announcing additional sanctions against the Iranian regime as a result of the attack on U.S. and allied troops" U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that the U.S. has slapped new sanctions on Iran, just days after Tehran's ballistic missile attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq, a move that nearly brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war.
With the two sides now stepping back from a possible armed conflict, the new round of U.S. sanctions target eight senior Iranian officials that the Trump administration believes were involved in the missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing American troops.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, SAYING: "We're striking at the heart of the Islamic Republic's inner security apparatus.
That's the regime's brute squad.
They've carried out his terrorist plots and destabilizing campaigns across the Middle East and around the world." The sanctions also further tighten the screws on the Iranian economy, targeting the country's manufacturing, mining and textile sectors.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF TREASURY STEVE MNUCHIN, SAYING: "As a result of these actions, we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime and we will continue our enforcement of other entities." Tensions between Tehran and Washington have spiked over the past week, after President Donald Trump ordered a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's top military leader, Qassem Soleimani.
Pompeo insisted on Friday that the U.S. targeted Soleimani in response to specific information about an imminent threat from Iran.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, SAYING: "It was very clear Qassem Soleimani, himself, was plotting broad, large-scale attacks against American interests and those attacks were imminent -- against American facilities, including U.S embassies, military bases.
American facilities throughout the region." Pompeo failed to provide specific information about the plot.
Despite Iran's continued aggressive behavior, Mnuchin and Pompeo insisted that U.S. sanctions on Iran are working and they vowed to impose more economic penalties if Tehran continued to engage in what they described as terrorist acts.