On Monday, President Trump finalized his new "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by saying they will target "the assets of Ayatollah Khomeini," Khamenei's predecessor, who died in 1989.
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
But that's not why Iran responded to Trump's newest sanctions with mockery and derision. For starters, barring Khamenei from the U.S. and its banks "will have almost no impact on the ayatollah, The New York Times notes. Khamenei "never travels outside Iran and the conglomerate he controls, Setad, has little reliance on international banking."
"The sanctions mean Iran's supreme leader can't visit Disney World or get dollars with his ATM card," tweeted New York Times editor Rick Gladstone. "They are a joke in Tehran." Plus, the announced sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, a moderate, are seen as counterproductive to the negotiations Trump says he wants.
"Trump appears to be gambling that the pressure campaign will compel Iran's leadership to agree to a new nuclear agreement and not prompt it to lash out militarily for what it views as an illegal effort to strangle Iran's economy," The Washington Post reports. But the sanctions Trump has put on Iran since withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal have already slammed most Iranians and crippled Iran's oil exports, and analysts see diminishing returns each new round.
"Are there really any sanctions that the U.S. hasn't imposed against our country and people in the past 40 years?" asked Abbas Mousavi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman. The semiofficial Fars News Agency called the sanctions "ridiculous," and a widely shared tweet from an Iranian calling himself K. Jafari read: "The only people left to sanction are me, my dad and our neighbor's kid. The foreign ministry should share Trump's phone number so we can call him and give him our names." Peter Weber