President Trump ratchets up economic pressure on Iran with new sanctions

By Edmund DeMarche | Fox News

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a tweet Tuesday that the new U.S. sanctions that target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian officials permanently end any chance of diplomacy between countries.

The comment was followed by Iranian President Rouhani, who mocked the White House and said it is “afflicted by mental retardation.” Rouhani spoke live in a televised address on Tuesday.

The U.S. and Iran have seen tensions increase exponentially in the past few weeks after an initial U.S. sanctions squeeze that Washington said led to the attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The situation became increasingly dire last week after Tehran admitted to downing a $100 million U.S. Navy drone.

RAND PAUL PRAISES TRUMP’S RESTRAINT

Abbas Mousavi took to Twitter to call out President Trump’s latest decision to impose additional sanctions and said the sanctions means “closing channel of diplomacy forever,” according to Reuters.

“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security,” the tweet read.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, later said the U.S. is open to negotiations, all Iran needs to do is “walk through that open door.” It was unclear if his response was in connection to Mousavi’s tweet.

Trump, for his part, has been largely credited for his show of prudence while dealing with a hostile country. Trump appears hesitant to enter another hot war in the region but said Monday that his “restraint” is not limitless.

Trump said the sanctions “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.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions “lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.”

Fox News has confirmed that the U.S. military also carried out a cyberattack against Iran last Thursday even as the president nixed plans for airstrikes in response to the downing of an American drone.

Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberattack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Edmund DeMarche is a news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

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