Iran says its “active resistance” against Washington’s maximum pressure has resulted in the departure of US State Department’s special representative for Iran Brian Hook, and may force his boss Mike Pompeo to resign as well.
Pompeo said on Thursday that Hook is leaving his post, and US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, will add Iran to his role “following a transition period” with Hook.
In a tweet on Friday, Secretary of Iran’s National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said Hook is leaving the office without any success in carrying out his mission, just like Donald Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton.
The Trump administration’s maximum pressure strategy was initially aimed at bringing about a “regime change” in Iran, but finally turned into “preventing Iran from becoming rich,” Shamkhani noted.
After Hook, “Mike [Pompeo] may also be forced to pack and leave before Donald [Trump]’s departure,” he added.
“No difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams; when it comes to the US #Iran policy, American officials have been bitten off more than they could chew. Same applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump AND their successors,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted.
Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, also played down Hook’s departure, saying it “does not concern us and is not something we consider as a game-changer”.
“The so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign waged by the US government has failed,” he told Reuters.
“Iran is not on its knees, and will not do so regardless of who is in charge of implementing this bankrupt policy. Active Resistance,” he added.
In his Thursday comments, Pompeo did not give a reason for the change, but wrote in a tweet that Hook was moving on to the private sector. He described him as a “trusted adviser and a good friend”, claiming he had achieved “historic results” in countering Tehran and securing the release of US prisoners in Iran.
The New York Times debunked the claim, saying Hook “departs with his main goal still elusive”.
“Mr. Trump’s decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal has not forced the Iranian government to change its conduct, but it did lead to a public effort to reconstitute its nuclear production facilities,” it said.
“Mr. Hook insisted that with more time, Iran’s economic devastation, largely because of US-led sanctions imposed after Mr. Trump abandoned President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, would force the country to give up all of its ability to enrich nuclear fuel,” the paper added.
Hook, 52, was appointed to the top Iran role at the State Department in late 2018 and has been the point man in Washington’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers.
Hook’s surprise departure comes at a time when Washington has been intensely, but in vain, lobbying at the United Nations to extend an arms embargo on Iran, which is to expire in October as per the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
The Security Council prepares to hold a vote on the US resolution next week.