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Trump says US will impose 'major additional sanctions' against Iran on Monday

Key Points
  • Trump's comments come after he called off strikes against the Islamic Republic this week over concerns that a military response would kill scores of people.
  • "We want to be proportionate," Trump told reporters Saturday.
  • However, the president also said he has not ruled out strikes against Iran in the future.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, June 22, 2019, as he travels to Camp David, Maryland.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images


President Donald Trump said Saturday the United States would impose "major additional sanctions" against Iran on Monday, after calling off military strikes against the Islamic Republic over concerns about the loss of life.

Trump said he would discuss tensions between the U.S. and Iran at Camp David this weekend.

"We want to be proportionate," Trump told reporters Saturday.

However, the president also said he has not ruled out using military force against Iran in the future.

"It's always on the table until we get this solved," he said. "We have a tremendously powerful military force in that area."

Longstanding tensions between the U.S. and Iran have reached a boiling point in recent weeks with the two countries nearly coming to blows.

Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile, one week after two oil tankers were rocked by explosions in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, the world's busiest sea lane for oil shipments.

Oil surged this week on concern that tensions between the U.S. and Iran could disrupt the flow of oil. U.S. crude jumped more than 9% and the global benchmark Brent jumped by 5%.

Trump called off planned military strikes against Iran this week, saying he was concerned about the loss of life and did not believe that such a response was proportionate to Iran downing an unmanned U.S. drone.

Tehran said the surveillance drone had violated its airspace, while the U.S. claimed the unmanned aircraft was operating in international airspace. Washington has also blamed Iran for the attacks on the two oil tankers, a charge Tehran strongly denies.

"But this is not about the Straits," Trump said, referring to the Strait of Hormuz and oil shipments through it. "This is about Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. It's very simple."

Trump also discussed divisions within his administration over how to respond to the downing of the drone. The president called his national security advisor John Bolton a "hawk" who takes a "tough posture" and criticized his support of the 2003 Iraq War.

"John Bolton is doing a very good job, but he takes a -- generally, a tough posture," Trump said. "But I have other people who don't have that posture. But the only one that matters is me. Having people on both sides, to me, is very important."

Trump last year pulled out of an international agreement, negotiated by the Obama administration, that limited Iran's nuclear program. His administration has slapped expansive sanctions back on Iran in an attempt to force the Islamic Republic to make greater concessions.

The president indicated he was open to negotiating with Iran.

"We could have a deal with them very quickly if they want to do it, it's up to them," Trump said. "But if Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again, become a prosperous nation, we'll call it, let's make Iran great again."