President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he ordered new sanctions against Iran after US officials blamed the country for an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, CNN reports.
"I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Trump previously hinted at possible military action, which he said depended on how the Saudi’s wanted him to proceed. Some Republican lawmakers have called for a military response against Iran, according to CNN, and Vice President Mike Pence has suggested that was still on the table.
It is unclear what the new sanctions will target. The US already increased sanctions after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last year.
Trump may want to avoid military conflict:
Trump, who ran for president vowing to withdraw the United States from foreign wars, may be eager to avoid a military conflict.
"This is important because it appears to be Trump's effort to respond to the Iranian attack by sanctions measures and not by military steps," Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, told CNN. "The way I look at it, this is the substitute for a military response, not the prelude to it."
But Rome added that the US has already increased sanctions to such a point that "at this point the US is scraping the bottom of the barrel with sanctions. After the decision to sanction Iranian oil in May, everything else is fairly marginal. When you look at effectiveness or impact, you're really out of significant sanction tools at this point."
US officials ordered to plan possible strike:
Trump’s tweets about the attack were much more forceful earlier this week, when he wrote that the US was “locked and loaded” to respond. He later told reporters he was not interested in war.
“During a Monday meeting with his national security team, Trump discussed potential military and non-military responses to the attack including new sanctions, according to senior administration officials,” CNN reported. “US defense officials were ordered to plan potential responses to the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, but the White House is waiting for the Kingdom's rulers to decide on a response before charting a path forward.”