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Hook to Asharq Al-Awsat: No One is Defending the Iranian Regime

Hook to Asharq Al-Awsat: No One is Defending the Iranian Regime

Friday, 15 February, 2019 - 10:00
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on the sidelines of the Warsaw Conference (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Warsaw – Camille Al-Taweel
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook underlined a difference between the US and Europe in dealing with Iran. While he said that no government participating in the Warsaw conference has defended the Iranian regime, he affirmed his country’s determination to tighten the grip on Tehran and its regional proxies.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Hook said that he saw in Warsaw about 70 countries from different parts of the world meet to discuss the security challenges facing the Middle East.
“If you see the challenges that this region faces, Iran is usually in the center of it all. We have not heard any government here defending the Iranian regime and its policies,” he said. “We have differences in tactics and style, but no one is defending this regime.”
Asked about the speech of US Vice President Mike Pence, and the fundamental difference between the US and Europe in dealing with Iran, Hook said: “We definitely disagree with the Europeans on the (2015) nuclear deal… We decided to withdraw from this agreement, and we found a great deal of freedom to pressure Iran, being out of this deal.”

As for the European role in countering Iranian regional activities, he said: “We believe that the Europeans have taken steps in recent months to pressure Iran.”

He said Tehran has carried out assassinations, bombing attempts and conspiracies in the heart of Europe.

“In fact, Iran has been practicing terrorism in Europe for 40 years. We are therefore happy that Europe is reacting to those actions. The European Union has recently imposed sanctions on Iran for the first time since the adoption of the nuclear agreement, which is something positive,” he noted.
Commenting on statements made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about confronting “the three H’s” – Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis, Hook said that Iran was providing about $100 million a year to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, “a new indication of how Iranian funding does not improve Palestinian lives.”

The Tehran regime also spends $700 million a year on Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and has provided $16 billion since 2013 to fund operations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. These are the causes of instability in the Middle East, according to the US official.

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