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Trump Announces ‘Highest Level’ of New Sanctions on Iranian National Bank

The Iranian flag flies at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. (Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

President Trump announced Friday that his administration has placed harsh sanctions on Iran’s national bank.

“We have just sanctioned the Iranian National Bank — that is their central banking system — and it’s going to be at the highest level of sanctions,” Trump told reporters from the Oval Office.

The announcement comes two days after Trump said he had instructed Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran following several attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that the U.S. attributed to the Islamic republic.

The attacks, a series of coordinated strikes that hit Saudi oil facilites last Saturday, cut the country’s oil production, which accounts for 5 percent of the world’s daily supply, in half. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called “an act of war,” though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they carried out the attacks. The Saudi government said Iran “sponsored” the attacks. Iran has denied responsibility.

The president said Sunday that the U.S. is “locked and loaded,” ready to respond to the attacks, but said Washington is still working to positively identify the culprit. On Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister warned of an “all-out war” should the U.S. launch a military strike.

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