After Hook’s departure, Iran says US envoys ‘bite off more than they can chew’

Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, gives a press conference in the capital Tehran . (File photo: AFP)

A senior Iranian official said on Friday there was no difference between the outgoing and incoming US special envoys for Iran because American officials “bite off more than they can chew.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that the top US envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, was leaving his post and the US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, would add Iran to his role.

Hook’s surprise departure comes at a critical time when Washington has been intensely lobbying at the United Nations to extend an arms embargo on Iran and as the UN Security Council prepares to hold a vote on the US resolution next week.

Pompeo did not give a reason for the change but wrote in a tweet that Hook was moving on to the private sector.

Elliott Abrams

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams speaks at a news conference at the State Department on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. (AFP)

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams speaks at a news conference at the State Department on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. (AFP)

“There’s no difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet under the hashtag #BankruptUSIranPolicy.

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“When US policy concerns Iran, American officials have been biting off more than they can chew. This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors,” Mousavi added.

President Donald Trump last year fired his national security adviser, John Bolton, a veteran hardliner on Iran who advocated military action to destroy Tehran's nuclear program.

Read more:

US Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook stepping down: Pompeo

US oil sanctions against Iran are unjust, says Rouhani

Bolton’s dismissal does not affect Iran’s view of US: Iranian security official

Hook, 52, was named to the top Iran role at the State Department in late 2018 and has been instrumental in a US "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran, including sanctions on its vital oil exports, since Trump pulled Washington out of the world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht, Iran's top budget official, said on Friday the country had only realized 6 percent of its planned oil income in the first four months of its current fiscal year but
that higher tax revenue and sales of state assets had allowed it to partly recoup a budget shortfall, state media reported.

Abrams, 72, a Republican foreign policy veteran, was named US special representative for Venezuela in January 2019 and has led a hawkish approach aimed at removing VenezuelanPresident Nicolas Maduro.

Last Update: Saturday, 08 August 2020 KSA 23:43 - GMT 20:43