Hook: US’s Iran Team Will Focus on Nukes and Terrorism
By Staff Writer
The new US special representative for Iran has said that his team will strive to focus on changing the Regime’s behaviour on issues like nuclear weapons, terrorism, and the detention of Americans.
Brian Hook made these comments on Thursday at the State Department, shortly after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Hook's appointment to the role.
Hook, who will be heading the new Iran Action Group, explained that they would be working to pursue changes in the 12 areas that were laid out by Pompeo in May, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, support for terrorism and arbitrary detention of Americans.
Iran has denied that it continues to pursue nuclear weapons, despite evidence from the Iranian Resistance, the US, and Israel, among others, or support terrorism, despite the fact that it has terrorist training camps in its capital city and sends billions of dollars to Hezbollah and the Houthis ever year. It has also claimed that the Americans imprisoned in Iran are being held on national security charges, a claim that Iran makes of many political prisoners, but the US says that this is untrue.
Hook, who was the State Department's director of policy planning between February 2017 and yesterday, said the Iran group would begin with several permanent personnel and add more experts as time went on.
When making the announcement on Hook, Pompeo told reporters that the US hoped for a new agreement with Iran soon, but that the US would have to see “major changes” in the Regime’s behaviour.
In May, Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, citing that the agreement did not go far enough to countering Iran’s "malign" behaviours, i.e. support for militant groups and development of ballistic missiles. This led to the reimposition of US sanctions against Iran’s auto industry and use of the US dollar earlier this month.
Hook said: "If the Iranian regime demonstrates a commitment to make fundamental changes in its behaviour, the president is prepared to engage in dialogue in order to find solutions. But sanctions relief, re-establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations with the US and economic cooperation with the US can only begin after we see the Iranian regime is serious about changing its behaviour."
Further sanctions targeting Iran's oil exports and the central bank will come into force in November and the US has warned other countries to abide by these sanctions.
Hook said: “In our sanctions regime, we are prepared to impose secondary sanctions on other governments that continue this sort of trade with Iran.”