President Trump said in a tweet Wednesday morning that he has directed Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin to “substantially increase sanctions on Iran.”
The president’s latest threat comes amid the fallout from an attack last weekend on critical Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure. The attack, in which several oil facilities belonging to Aramco, the Saudi national oil company, were targeted, caused Saudi oil output to fall by 50 percent. As Saudi output accounts for 5 percent of the global oil supply, crude-oil prices jumped.
Trump and his administration have hinted that Iran was responsible for the attack, though Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility. On Saturday, Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo tweeted that “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” and called for the world’s nations “to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks.”
Iran has vociferously denied responsibility, claiming that American officials were engaging in “maximum deceit.”
It was not immediately clear what the increase in sanctions would entail, and Trump provided no further details.