Economic sanctions

Trump says U.S. will "substantially" increase sanctions against Iran

Collage of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (L) and President Trump. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he's instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "substantially" increase sanctions against Iran.

Why it matters: It's unclear what the new sanctions will target, but the announcement comes 4 days after drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia dealt a blow to the global oil supply. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudis have blamed Iran for the attacks, though officials are still investigating. Iranian officials have warned the U.S. that they are prepared to respond to any attack from the U.S. or Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reports.

U.S. sanctions Lebanese bank for alleged Hezbollah ties

Hezbollah flag
The Hezbollah flag flying in Lebanon. Photo: Mahmoud Zayat/AFP/Getty Images

Senior Trump administration officials announced new sanctions against Lebanon-based Jammal Trust Bank and its subsidiaries, for allegedly helping Iran wire money to U.S.-designated terror group Hezbollah, according to a press call on Thursday.

Why it matters: U.S. officials said the new sanctions should serve as a warning to other countries that intend to manipulate foreign financial institutions to fund Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. Already, the Iranian economy is struggling due to existing U.S. sanctions that went into effect in mid-2018.

Go deeper: How Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war