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US Iran envoy resigns, replaced by top diplomat in charge of Venezuela policy

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)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. State Department has said Brian Hook, the U.S. government’s pointman on Iran policy under President Donald Trump, has resigned.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement August 6 that Elliott Abrams, another diplomat who has led the Trump administration’s push to topple Venezuela’s leadership, would take his place temporarily.

Hook’s departure comes as the United Nations Security Council prepares for a vote on a U.S. push to extend an international arms embargo on Iran.

Hook became the U.S. special envoy for Iran policy in August 2018, not long after the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear accord that lifted crippling sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran agreeing to curb its nuclear ambitions.

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Since then, the Trump administration has steadily ramped up its pressure and rhetoric against Tehran.

Despite severe economic problems, Iran’s leadership has so far refused to budge or give in to U.S. pressure.

Abrams, who will be taking over from Hook, was a key figure in the 2003 Iraq war.

He will take on the Iran portfolio as he continues his work seeking to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Pompeo said.