State Dept Names 'Special Representative for Iran'

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 18, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is forming a dedicated group to coordinate and run US policy toward Iran as the Trump administration moves ahead with efforts to force changes in the Islamic Republic's behavior after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Brian Hook, who had served as director of policy planning under Pompeo and his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, will lead the initiative as the Special Representative for Iran, reporting directly to the secretary of state, Pompeo said.

The move by Pompeo also comes as America reimposed sanctions on August 6 after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May.

Saying that Tehran has been engaged in "a torrent of violent and destabilizing behavior" against the United States and its allies for almost 40 years, Pompeo said, "We are committed to a whole-of-government effort to change the Iranian regime's behavior".

"The burden is on the Iranian regime to change its behavior", he said. On the other hand, Tehran said that it would not engage in talks with the USA and has been involved in back-and-forth jibes with the Trump administration on Washington's "hardline approach". He added, "The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation".

Calling the accord as an "embarrassment" that was "defective at its core", Trump also warned of severe consequences if Iran resumed its nuclear programme.

Iran will turn to China, Russia, and Turkey to reduce the impact of sanctions, but all three countries are embroiled in complex negotiations with the USA in which Iran is one bargaining chip.

"The creation of the Iran Action Group indicates that the Trump administration seeks to mobilize all of Washington's institutional resources to advance its maximum pressure campaign against the regime in Iran", Tzvi Kahn, senior Iran Analyst at FDD, told JNS.

Trump later offered to speak with Iranian leaders without preconditions in the hope of securing a new U.S.

Hook said that if Tehran "changes its behavior" in those 12 areas, US President Donald Trump is "prepared to talk to the regime." .

CBS News' Kylie Atwood reports that the State Department now faces a November 4th deadline when sanctions will be reimposed on those who are importing Iranian oil.

Since withdrawing, the administration has re-imposed sanctions that were eased under the deal and has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what it describes as "malign activities" in the region.

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.

He added that "there have been White House czars before, study groups, as well as unconfirmed reports about Secretary Pompeo having a similar group to deal with the North Korea problem set in his previous government position [as Central Intelligence Agency director]".

Giving a stern warning to Tehran to change its behaviour, especially on its nuclear approach, Pompeo underlined that the IAG would help to closely synchronise with inter-agency partners of the US State Department and lead diplomatic efforts by Washington to "galvanise global support for our efforts".

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