WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions Monday on Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and others within his inner circle.
However, when announcing the sanctions, Trump referred to the wrong ayatollah.
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I’m about to sign 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. The assets of Ayatollah Khomeini and his office will not be spared from the sanctions," Trump said at the signing of an executive order to impose the sanctions.
The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was Iran's Supreme Leader from 1979 to 1989. He died in 1989 and was succeeded by the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader is the most powerful political and religious position within the Iranian government.
The White House's transcript, released after the signing of the sanctions, refers to "Ayatollah Khamenei," the correct name of Iran's current leader.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani mocked Trump on Tuesday, saying the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation.”
In televised remarks, Rouhani said the decision to impose sanctions meant the “certain failure” of the White House’s efforts, and also criticized U.S. officials for wanting to sanction Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Associated Press reported.
President Trump has just signed an executive order to deny Iran's Supreme Leader and his associates access to key financial resources and support. pic.twitter.com/14qE9iUe61
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 24, 2019
The sanctions came as a response to the downing of a U.S. drone last week by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. claims that the drone was shot down over international waters, whereas Iran insists that the drone was violating Iranian airspace.
Trump said that he considered retaliatory air strikes against Iran, but decided not to move forward when he learned that as many as 150 people would be killed, something he thought would not be a "proportionate" response to the loss of a drone.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump appears to name the wrong Iranian leader when announcing sanctions on Iran