U.S. Secretary of State names special representative for Iran

Oil price crisis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Brian Hook as the new "special representative" for Iran, who will head up an 'Iran Action Group'.

Ever since U.S. sanctions on Iran were reactivated on August 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been struggling to balance Iraq's relations between the United States and Iran so as not to lose either of them as a supportive ally.

Hook, accusing Iran of being "a force for instability and violence", said he would also keep the door open to talks but made clear that U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran both economically and diplomatically would not end until its leadership changed policies.

Hook is expected to be replaced as policy planning chief by Kiron Skinner, a foreign policy academic and adviser to several Republican presidential candidates who served on Mr. Trump's national security transition team and very briefly at the State Department after Trump took office, according to the officials who were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. "You know our concerns about Iran and about trading with Iran, and we will continue to hold countries accountable for any violation of sanctions", Nauert replied.

"We are prepared to impose secondary sanctions on other governments that continue this sort of trade with Iran".

Hook said the timing was "pure coincidence" and rejected comparisons between the Iran group and an earlier State Department initiative known as the "Future of Iraq Project" that was undertaken when U.S. policy was to promote the downfall of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Back in May, the U.S. withdrew from a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran and said it would re-introduce the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord.


Pompeo further said that the goal of these sanctions was to get Iran to stop supporting the ill- governance and uprisings in the Middle-East, adding that "enormous change" was required by the Iranian government to break free of the U.S. sanctions. "But we must see major changes in the regime's behavior both inside and outside its borders".

When AP's Matt Lee noted that the announcement of the Iran Action Group is taking place on the anniversary of the 1953 US-backed coup, and asked if this suggested "regime change", Hook responded that the timing is "pure coincidence" and that the IAG is aimed at "changing the Iranian regime's behavior".

Overall, he said, the new team will concentrate on implementing the policy outlined by Pompeo in a speech in May.

The strategy is similar to the administration's policy on North Korea, where Trump sat down with leader Kim Jong Un but has continued stringent sanctions against that country.

Harvard scholar and Iranian-affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said the regime in Tehran is in deep trouble at home as the sanctions, which came into effect last week, are working.

The secretary of state and former Central Intelligence Agency director also accused several members of Iran's leadership, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, of participating in widespread corruption.

US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, and the initial round of reimposed sanctions, has already impacted the Iranian economy and exacerbated popular unrest there. He added, "The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation". Companies from France, Britain and Germany, all remaining signatories to the agreement, have withdrawn their investments in Iran, fearing problems with the United States, although Russian Federation and China, who also signed, have said they will remain active in the Iranian economy.

Related News:



Most liked

RBS comes bottom of bank league tables
He responded: "I take exception to the word "destroy.' I am more comfortable with 'severely damage". Some 60% of customers said they would recommend these banks.

Former cricket legend Imran Khan confirmed as new Pakistan Prime Minister
Talking about the qualities of Khan, the former cricketer said: "I have seen Khan converting his weaknesses into his strength". After the announcement of the election result, lawmakers from the PML-N chanted slogans and protested against the decision.

Justin Bieber introduces newest family member with sweet Instagram post
The proud dad took to Instagram to share the lovely news, posting a picture of himself, baby Bay and his wife. He and Rebelo were married in February, the same month the pregnancy was announced .

Toni Kroos blasts Ozil for retiring from global football
Ozil said he was quitting global football in the wake of Germany's shock World Cup exit at the group stage in Russian Federation . He was voted the national team's player of the year five times by fans. "It would have been hard to say no".

Ex-Arsenal midfielder convinced Fred to pick Manchester United over Manchester City
Manchester United should build the team around Paul Pogba and give him a more attacking role, according to Danny Higginbotham. Merson, however, is backing the Red Devils to get a positive result on Sunday afternoon, away from home.

Sergio Ramos hits back at Jurgen Klopp over Mohamed Salah shoulder injury
The 25-year-old recently scored the opening goal against West Ham in a 4-0 win to the Reds in their first league game of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham need to be positive despite the stadium delay
The club were due to move into their £800million arena next month with their first game a mouthwatering clash against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on September 15.

Tencent shares sink as latest game is blocked by China regulators
At this point, only time will tell how Tencent will overcome these obstacles and if they are able to overcome them at all. The Steam-like platform Tencent's WeGame has said that it's been removed and now not available for purchasing.

Buddhist monk master in China resigns after sexual misconduct allegations ZlotoNews
Longquan Monastery Abbot Shi Xuecheng Accused of Sexual Misconduct As #MeToo Movement Gains Traction in China . The same report also claimed that the monastery is in financial trouble.

Everton chief admits Richarlison deal cost more due to Marco Silva row
Nikola Vlasic joined CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and Muhamed Besic, Cuco Martina and Yannick Bolasie are all heading for the exit. They said to me, 'Man United are coming in.' I don't know if they did but I took a bit of a risk with that.

Pentagon puts off military parade until 2019
That estimate pegged the cost of the parade at closer to $12 million, raising new questions about the overall cost of the event. In February, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Congress the parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million.

'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin Dies at 76
Her last live performance took place at Elton John's 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in November 2017. Inducted to the Apollo's Walk of Fame in 2010, Franklin performed there more than a dozen times , most recently in 2010.

Brandt Snedeker shoots 59 at Wyndham Championship
He has three top-10 finishes and two missed cuts in his last seven events and has not won on tour since 2016. Snedeker has had a down year by his standards and entered the week 80th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Ariana Grande Sings 'My Heart Will Go On' & Sounds Amazing!
Of course, Grande and Corden transition to Nelly's "Ride wit Me" as they act out a PG version of Rose and Jack's sexy auto scene. Corden shared the video of the episode on Twitter and tagged Grande. "Ice Ice Baby" is a cheeky add-on.

Gmail Brings Confidential Emails to Mobile
Gmail's confidential mode is an interesting feature for email that provides low-level protection for your messages. The company today launched Confidential Mode for emails on Gmail , letting users protect the emails they send.