On August 6th, Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State was let go from his position.
As US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement read:
“Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime.
He successfully negotiated with the Iranians the release of Michael White and Xiyue Wang from prison. Special Representative Hook also served with distinction as the Director of Policy Planning and set into motion a range of new strategies that advanced the national security interests of the United States and our allies. He has been a trusted advisor to me and a good friend. I thank him for his service.”
At the same time, he apparently didn’t do enough in attempting to change Iran’s “behavior” and didn’t achieve any semblance of a regime change as result of the massive pressure that was exerted on Tehran, throughout 2019 and the first 8 months of 2020.
The new US Special Representative for Iran, however, is an infamous hawk with ample experience in regime change.
He is best known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, which led to his conviction in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush.
Elliott Abrams, back in 1991 was Assistant Secretary of State and convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only two years of probation, and was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.
He is, regardless, a convicted war criminal.
Abrams was a key architect of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Most recently, Elliott Abrams served (and continues serving, yes he will assume both posts) as US Special Representative to Venezuela in the efforts at regime change that began in April 2019 and entirely failed.
“The appointment of a man known for his hatred of Iran and track record of seeking regime change whether in Latin America or the Middle East can only be seen as a signal that Trump is hell-bent on reckless confrontation with Iran, whether he really means it or not”, former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said.
Former UN Diplomat Jim Paul said Trump’s appointment of Abrams is a sign that a new phase of US intervention in Iran may be about to begin.
At first glance, Paul explained, it might seem odd that Abrams would be given the Iran portfolio when he is already envoy for Venezuela, but the two posts are very similar.
“For decades, Abrams has been a leading figure in Washington associated with organizing and promoting US intervention. Though he has worked especially on Latin America, he has also been involved in the Middle East, especially in support of Israel”, Paul said. “He is a hawkish neocon ideologue who can be expected to launch regime-change initiatives against Iran.”
Ford said Abrams’ appointment would certainly not frighten or deter Iran, which has demonstrated in the Gulf that it will not be awed and can strike back “with venom against aggression”.
Ford said “the least bad outcome” would be for Iran to read Trump’s move as an election ploy and not give it much attention.
“The worst would be for it to be a genuine harbinger of a hot war in the Middle East which would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like playgrounds”, the former UK ambassador to Syria said.
Ford said that Abrams appointment is worrying, to put it very lightly.
“Putting Abrams in charge of Iran policy is like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire brigade”, Ford concluded.
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