US President Donald Trump has announced new sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran and Tehran's sovereign fund for financing terrorism, describing them as "the toughest sanctions ever against a country."
"We have just imposed sanctions on the National Bank of Iran," Trump said in a statement to the Oval Office. "It's about their central banking system, which are top-level sanctions."
Finance Minister Stephen Mnuchin, who was on his side, said it was about targeting "the last source of income for the Central Bank of Iran and the National Development Fund, their sovereign fund, which would be cut off from our banking system."
"This means that there will be no money going to the IRGC to finance terrorism," he said.
The sanctions were imposed in response to Saturday's attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which Washington blamed on Tehran.
Since Thursday, Bush has announced new impending sanctions against Tehran in response to attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities.
The US Treasury has targeted the Central Bank of Iran and the Iranian Sovereign Fund for "providing them with billions of dollars" from the Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Army (which is responsible for foreign operations), as well as funding their Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Washington has classified these three entities as "terrorist organizations."
Iran's central bank and most of Iran's financial institutions have been under US sanctions since November 2018, after Washington withdrew from the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
Some "hawks" of the US administration have called for broadening the reasons for sanctions that have so far been limited to Iran's nuclear activities, to include financing terrorism, so that it would be more difficult to abandon them if a Democratic president is elected in 2020. .
In May 2018, Washington listed Iran's central bank governor personally on its blacklist of terrorist financing.
On the terrorist attack on Saudi Aramco facilities, US military officials said that the Pentagon will present during a forthcoming meeting of the National Security Council headed by Trump, options to respond to the attack on the two facilities.
The Pentagon will offer a wide range of military options to the US president, while studying how to respond to what US administration officials say is an unprecedented Iranian attack on the oil industry in Saudi Arabia.
Trump is expected to be presented with a list of possible targets within Iran, among other possible responses.
The Wall Street Journal, citing military officials, said the Pentagon was considering the option of sending more air defense batteries, as well as aircraft and surveillance equipment to the Gulf region to bolster its defenses after Aramco's attacks.
"Iran is responsible in one way or another for the attacks on Aramco's facilities," US Assistant Secretary of Defense Jonathan Hoffman said at a news conference in Washington.
"We will give President Donald Trump options to respond to the Aramco attack, which decides," he said. "The attacks on Aramco facilities were highly coordinated," he said. He added: «We support the Saudi investigation into the Aramco attacks, and will not pre-empt the results», stressing that «the attacks on Aramco facilities is an international issue, and we await the results of Saudi investigations».
The Saudi Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that the attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities came from the north, with the support of Iran.
Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the ministry, said at a press conference in Riyadh that the Kingdom confirms its ability to defend its territory.
The ministry showed pictures of the remnants of missiles targeting Aramco factories in Abqaiq and Khurais migration. "We have evidence of Iran's involvement in acts of sabotage in the region through its proxies," the ministry said.
Saudi Arabia yesterday revealed for the first time to international media the extent of damage to the two oil facilities that were attacked, affirming its determination to fully restore production. Journalists who were invited saw damage to the Khurais and Abqaiq facilities as a result of the terrorist attack.
The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir has confirmed the evening before yesterday, that targeting Abqaiq and Khurais with Iranian weapons is not an attack on the Kingdom only, but an attack on the world.
Kuwait raises security alert in ports
Kuwait's Minister of State for Services and Minister of Commerce and Industry, Khalid Al-Roudhan, yesterday issued a decision to raise the security level of port facilities from 1 to level 2.
In a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Kuwait Ports Corporation said that the ministerial decree number 448 stipulates that the security level of the port facilities of the country, whether commercial or oil, should be increased.
It added that the decision "stresses that all parties take the necessary measures and measures to protect ships and ports."
She explained that this decision comes in order to preserve the security of the country and the integrity of its territory and ports in the light of the conditions experienced by the region.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti army, announced on Wednesday evening, lift the state of combat readiness for some army units.