May 25, 2019

U.S. State Department hails at progress in anniversary of JCPOA withdrawal

In the picture Brian Hook , US Special Representative for Iran.

By Guido Lanfranchi.

One year after the announcement of the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal, the U.S. State Department points at the achievements of its recent policies towards Iran. The remarks come at a time where tensions between the two countries are particularly high.

At the beginning of May 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would cease its participation in the Iran Nuclear Deal. One year later, the situation has dramatically changed, with the U.S. imposing ever-increasing, tough economic sanctions on Iran, and the Iranian government announcing that it will disregard some of the limits imposed by the deal, if the benefits associated to the agreement do not materialize soon.

Despite the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Senior Officials in the U.S. administration look with satisfaction at the “U.S. policy achievements since withdrawing from the JCPOA”, referring to the formal name of the agreement. Mr. Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, welcomed the imposition of “the toughest sanctions ever on this Iranian regime”, and vowed to “continue to expose maximum pressure on the regime until it abandons its destabilizing ambitions”. “We will never be held hostage to the Iranian regime’s nuclear blackmail” – Mr. Hook continued – “and outside of the deal we are in a much better position to address the full range of Iran’s destabilizing activities”.

Dr. Victoria Coates, Senior Director for Middle Eastern Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, joined Mr. Hook in celebrating the achievement of the U.S. in increasing Iran’s isolation in the international scene. Dr. Coates said that President Trump has shown that “the United States retains unprecedented economic clout”, and that his guidance is to “continue increasing this pressure” on Iran’s government “until Tehran is compelled to negotiate on terms favorable to the U.S. or choose between survival and exporting terror, as it will not be able to do both”. In this regard, Mr. Hook pointed at recent reductions in Iran’s spending on its military and on allied groups across the region, seen by the U.S. administration as a proof of success of its recent policies towards Iran.

The U.S officials also commented on the recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Mr. Hook explained that the U.S. repositioned some of its military assets in response to “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests in the Middle East.” Echoing the words of his colleagues in the U.S. administration, Mr. Hook added that “the United States does not seek war with Iran, but we are ready to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region”. 

The officials also commented on the recent announcement by Iranian President Mr. Hassan Rouhani, who said that Iran will start enriching uranium to higher levels if the benefit theoretically granted by the 2015 nuclear deal will not materialize within two months. Mr. Hook said that the U.S. will be “examining very closely” the evolution of the situation. In the meanwhile, however, he refused to speculate about any potential step that Iran or the U.S. could take in the near future.

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