Over the past several months, we've taken significant actions to increase the consequences for Iran's illicit conduct.
Using financial measures, we've been targeting Iranian officials and companies that are responsible for a range of deplorable actions.
Today, with the President's new Executive Order, the U.S. will, for the first time, impose financial sanctions against those who have committed human rights abuses against the Iranian people.
With today's action, we are imposing financial sanctions on eight government officials who have engaged in human rights abuses in Iran.
I want to explain how these measures work and why they are effective.
Rather than simply relying on traditional sanctions on the entire country of Iran, we have zeroed in on specific actors involved in illicit conduct that harms the Iranian people.
We have found that when we single out Iran's bad actors and expose their illicit conduct--banks, businesses, and governments around the world respond by cutting off dealings with these individuals, groups and businesses.
The effectiveness of this strategy is already clear.
A growing number of companies and financial institutions have cut or curtailed their financial ties with Iran.
They have assessed the risks of continuing business with Iran, and they have decided that the risks are too great.
And we already have indications that Iran's leadership is concerned about the implications of this trend.
We have made important progress, and I want to emphasize that our goal is not to hurt the Iranian people.
Our goal is to enact strong, innovative, and effective policies that will pressure Iran's leaders to abandon their dangerous course.
We will continue to target Iran's illicit conduct in all areas in an effort to curtail these unacceptable policies, and to demonstrate to Iran that continuing on its present course will only increase its isolation.