Trump Calls off Military Strike, But Hits Iran With Tougher Sanctions, Cyberattacks

On June 20, Iran shot down a U.S. drone worth $110 million. Iran said the drone was over its territory. The U.S. released video showing it was over international waters.

U.S. President Donald Trump was ready to make a retaliatory military strike against Iranian interests. But he canceled last minute when advised that approximately 150 people would die.

“I stopped it, [it’s] not… proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he tweeted.

Some saw Trump’s move as a wise diplomatic decision. Others, including some Democrats, saw it as a sign of weakness that could embolden Iran.

‘A Hunting License in the Middle East’

John Bolton is the National Security Adviser. He said, “Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness.

“No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East.”

Despite the lack of a military response, the U.S. did make a move. Cyberattacks were carried out against Iranian intelligence and radar installations. The ones used to down the Navy drone.

Iran said the attacks were unsuccessful. Some Iranian military radar sites were shut off at the time. It’s unknown whether that was from the cyberattacks.

Ill-Fated Drone Flew ‘Low’

Here’s something that will probably have a greater impact than cyberattacks. New and potentially devastating sanctions against Iran. More on that in a moment.

The drone lost by the U.S. was an RQ-4A Global Hawk. Its wingspan was greater than a Boeing 737 and could travel at about 500 miles an hour. It also took three people to remotely pilot.

It was flying at about 22,000 feet over the Strait of Hormuz and was thought to be safe. Due to its jamming system and radar-warning receiver. And the fact that it can release a decoy behind it.

But none of that worked well enough to keep the drone from being destroyed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The incident proved that Iran’s defensive capabilities have improved recently.

80% of Iran Economy Sanctioned

Now, about those sanctions. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says they “lock up literally billions more of assets.”

Trump said this about the sanctions. They will “deny the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him… access to key financial resources and support.”

According to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, more than 80 percent of the Iranian economy is now sanctioned. The U.S. Treasury Department then gave a stern warning to allies and others.

Here’s how the statement read. “Any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this executive order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.”

Iran Calls Sanctions ‘Idiotic’

How has Iran responded to the new sanctions? The country has called the sanctions “idiotic.” They say the sanctions spell the “permanent closure” for diplomacy between the two countries.

Abbas Mousavi is an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Here’s what he says. “Trump’s government is annihilating all the established international mechanisms for keeping peace and security in the world.”

Iran’s United Nations ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said the Persian Gulf situation is “very dangerous.”

He also added that talks with the U.S. are impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation.

Trump Threatens ‘Obliteration’

Trump came back with a threatening tweet. He declared that an Iranian attack on any U.S. interest will be met with “great and overwhelming force… overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

Pompeo added, “The United States will remain steadfast in undertaking the actions that the president laid out in this strategy. To create stability throughout the Middle East.

Bolton has also noted the door is open to negotiations with Iran: “As we speak, American diplomatic representatives are surging across the Middle East, seeking a path to peace.

“In response, Iran’s silence has been deafening. There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons. And open realistic discussions to demonstrate that decision.”

Iran Breaks Nuclear Agreement

Bolton added that negotiations might not be possible if the Shiite nation breaks its nuclear deal with world powers.

Which is exactly what Iran has done. Recently Iran exceeded the threshold for their low-enrichment uranium stockpile agreed upon in the 2015 nuclear deal.

UN inspectors from the international Atomic Energy Agency weighed Iran’s stockpile. They reported that it surpassed the 660-pound limit.

Then Rouhani announced that Iran will pursue nuclear weapons if Europe does not give it a new deal. He added his country will increase its uranium enrichment to “any amount that we want.”

Desperate Iran May Goad U.S. Into Fight

So, what’s next? That may be up to Iran. For now, sanctions will continue to cripple the Iranian economy and perhaps make them lash out again.

“Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action.” That’s what White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

“The regime must end its nuclear ambitions and its malign behavior.”

In addition, warships from the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group remain in the region. Along with 70,000 U.S. troops. Including Air Force bombers and fighter jets.

Iranian leaders may feel that the only way they can get sympathy from the world is if they are attacked by the U.S. They may choose to force America’s hand.

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