Home / World / US Iran Envoy Brian Hook Steps Down As UN Arms Embargo Vote Looms
US Iran envoy Brian Hook steps down as UN arms embargo vote looms

US Iran Envoy Brian Hook Steps Down As UN Arms Embargo Vote Looms

WASHINGTON – The top US envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, will step down, and Elliott Abrams, the US special representative for Venezuela, will add Iran to his role “after a transition period” with Hook, US Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.
Hook’s surprise departure comes at a critical moment as Washington has been lobbying the United Nations intensely to extend an arms embargo on Iran and as the UN Security Council prepares to vote on a US resolution next week.
“We will continue to defend this,” Hook told reporters Thursday morning, hours before his departure was announced. “We hope the council can find a way.”
It was not immediately clear when Hook’s term would formally end and whether or not he would see through the vote.
Pompeo did not give a reason for Hook’s decision to leave but wrote in a tweet that Hook was moving to the private sector.
He described him as a “trusted advisor and good friend” who achieved “historic results” in the fight against Tehran and secured the release of US citizens detained by Iran.
Hook, 52, was appointed to Iran’s top State Department post in late 2018 and has been instrumental in escalating Washington’s pressure campaign on Tehran after President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal. 2015 nuclear war between Iran and world powers.
Opponents criticized Hook and the administration for overly harsh and indiscriminate sanctions, which they said were hurting ordinary Iranians and not changing the behaviour of the Iranian government.
The US offer in the Security Council to extend the arms embargo is a crucial test that some diplomats say is likely to fail, as it lacks the necessary support and the veto powers of Russia and China have already signalled opposition.
If the United States is unsuccessful in its attempt, it has threatened to unleash the return of all UN sanctions in a process known as a snapback.
Some diplomats have suggested that Washington will likely begin the recovery process, which could take up to 30 days, in late August.
“Hook’s departure underscores the growing risks surrounding US-Iran relations in the coming months,” Eurasia Group analyst Henry Rome said in an emailed note to clients.
“Hook travelled to Europe and the Middle East last month to gain support for the extension of the arms embargo, an effort that appears to have failed,” Rome said.
“He might not want to get caught up in the messy snapback process.”
Abrams, 72, a Republican foreign policy veteran, was appointed the United States special representative for Venezuela in January 2019 and has led a hard-line approach aimed at ousting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
US officials have said privately that Trump has been frustrated that he did not remove Maduro, who withholds support from the Venezuelan military, as well as Russia, China, Cuba and Iran.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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