The U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook will leave his post and Elliott Abrams, Special Representative for Venezuela, will temporarily take over his duties. This was stated in a statement by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, which was published on the website of the State Department on Thursday, August 6.
“Brian Hook has decided to step down as U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State. Special Representative Hook has been my focal point for Iran for more than two years, and he has made historic achievements against the Iranian regime,” said Pompeo.
Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.
Earlier Thursday, The New York Times wrote that Hook plans to announce his resignation on the same day. The newspaper notes that he planned, through sanctions, to bring the country’s economy to collapse and bankruptcy in the long run.
“There is never a good time to leave,” Hook said in an interview.
However, many in the United States do not agree with him, including former Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. She believes that numerous sanctions can harm the U.S. economy, rather than “promote reform or build relationships.
Earlier, on July 31, Pompeo announced the expansion of sanctions against Iranian nuclear, missile and military programs. The State Department has identified 22 specific materials that Iran allegedly uses in connection with its nuclear, military or ballistic programs. Among them are aluminum alloys, aluminum powder, some grades of steel, including stainless. The sanctions will affect those who knowingly transfer them to Tehran.
Hook said July 1 that Washington is considering using military force against Iran to prevent Tehran from receiving nuclear weapons.
In 2015, Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany signed the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCAP). The document, also called a nuclear deal, implies the lifting of sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a halt to nuclear development.
In 2018, Washington withdrew from the treaty, reinstated some sanctions against Iran and introduced new ones. A year later, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani announced the suspension of some obligations under the nuclear deal.