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US will use military force to stop Iran getting nukes if needed says Brian Hook, top US envoy on Iran

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Brian Hook speaks at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State, August 16, 2018. (U.S. State Department/Flickr)
July 01, 2020

U.S. Special Representative to Iran Brian Hook has warned against a lapse in an arms embargo against Iran, which is set to expire in October, warning that it could create an opening for the country to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Hook, who is the special envoy under President Donald Trump’s administration, discussed the arms embargo in in an interview Wednesday with Israeli reporter Barak Ravid. Hook said the U.S. will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that “the military option is always on the table.”

“President Trump’s envoy for Iran Brian Hook tells me in an exclusive interview in Jerusalem that the military option against the Iranian nuclear program is still on the table,” Ravid tweeted.

Hook reiterated that “yes of course,” the U.S. would consider military measures against Iran, when Ravid asked him to confirm his remark moments earlier.

Hook said the U.S. would exercise all legal abilities to extend the arms embargo against Iran and barring that, it would invoke a U.N. “snapback” measure within the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The snapback measure would resume U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Asked whether the U.S. had the right to invoke the snapback measure after having withdrawn from the deal in 2018, Hook said the U.S. retains the right to invoke the snapback regardless of whether they remain in the JCPOA.

“U.S. envoy Brian Hook tells me the Trump administration is working on extending the arms embargo on Iran and says Russia & China should be on board if they want stability in the Middle East,” Ravid tweeted. “Brian Hook tells me the U.S. prefers extending the Iran arms embargo over going for snapback of UN sanctions.”

Hook acknowledged the U.S. would need Russia and China to agree to extend the embargo, but said they should be willing to do it if they also value peace and stability in the Middle East. He said if the embargo cannot be extended, the U.S. would invoke the U.N. snapback measure.

“There are seven countries that are listed in U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 that have the right to initiate snapback and that is a right that exists independently of whether one is in or out of the deal” Hook said. “Though our preference is to just simply extend the arms embargo.”

Ravid asked whether Trump or members of his administration regretted leaving the deal, noting Iranian claims it had increased nuclear production since the U.S. departure.

“Leaving the deal was the right thing to do,” Hook responded. “The question we ask, on behalf of the American people is, what is the best means to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon, and the answer is not the JCPOA.”