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Khamenei ultimately responsible, says Trump after fresh US sanctions on Iran

Trump displays executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America Jun 24, 2019, 09.46 PM (IST)

US President Donald Trump ordered "hard-hitting" financial sanctions Monday on Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holding him "ultimately responsible" for the Islamic republic's destabilising activities.

"We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran," Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office. "Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon."

"We do not ask for conflict," he said, adding that depending on Iran's response the sanctions could end tomorrow - or it "can also be years from now."

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates renewed concern about Iran including over alleged attacks on oil tankers but held out hope for talks.

"We call on Iran to halt any further actions which threaten regional stability, and urge diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions," said the statement released by the United States on Monday.

Trump has said he wants negotiations with Iran, which has replied that he is insincere after walking away from an earlier denuclearisation deal and slapping punishing sanctions.

Story highlights

In a joint statement, the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates renewed concern about Iran including over alleged attacks on oil tankers but held out hope for talks.