U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday a Special Representative for Iran -- Brian Hook. Hook has been assigned the task to coordinate U.S. policy on Iran as the administration looks to ramp up pressure on Tehran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
"We are committed to a whole-of-government effort to change the Iranian regime's behavior, and the Iran Action Group will ensure that the Department of State remains closely synchronized with our interagency partners," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.
Hook will also head the group which will be responsible for directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department's Iran-related activity and it will report directly Pompeo, the top U.S. diplomat said.
"For nearly 40 years, the regime in Tehran has been responsible for a torrent of violent and destabilizing behavior against the United States, our allies, our partners, and indeed the Iranian people themselves," Pompeo said, painting the effort as part of a campaign being conducted "in solidarity with the Iranian people."
Countering the #Iran regime’s malign activity is a key @POTUS foreign policy priority. The Iran Action Group, led by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, will ensure a coordinated, unified approach to address the regime's hostile activity and support the Iranian people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 16, 2018
The Secretary of State clarified on the possibility of a new deal with Iran but stated his riders. "Our hope is that one day soon we can reach a new agreement with Iran," Pompeo said. "But we must see major changes in the regime's behavior both inside and outside of its borders. The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation."
.@SecPompeo announces the creation of the #Iran Action Group, which will be led by Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook and will be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the @StateDept’s Iran-related activity. pic.twitter.com/G2NDwyEsuQ
— Department of State (@StateDept) August 16, 2018
Brian Hook addressed the media saying that the Iran Action Group was part of U.S. efforts to deal with the wide range of "malign" Iranian activities, including its "aspirations for nuclear weapons," support for terrorism, cyberactivities, and the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
He underscored the U.S.’s intentions when he said that the Trump Administration is willing to impose secondary sanctions on governments that continue to deal with Iran.
After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May and, re-imposed economic sanctions that were lifted under the deal, he has mentioned his willingness to talk with the Iranian leadership. However, Iran’s leadership – both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have ruled out talks under the cloud of economic sanctions.