All tagged Brian Hook

US Adds to Iran Sanctions as French Seek to Restart Oil Sales

◢ The U.S. placed new sanctions on Iran, and a top American official signaled more measures are coming while deflecting questions about French diplomatic efforts meant to help Tehran restart oil sales. Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, said Wednesday that the U.S. will “continue to drive up the costs” for Tehran’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles and take other actions.

US Offered Millions in Cash to Captain of Iranian Tanker

◢ A senior US official personally offered several million dollars to the Indian captain of an Iranian oil tanker suspected of heading to Syria, the State Department confirmed Wednesday. The Financial Times reported that Brian Hook, the State Department point-man on Iran, sent emails to captain Akhilesh Kumar in which he offered "good news" of millions in US cash.

US Urges UN to Extend Iran Arms Embargo, Travel Ban

◢ The US urged the United Nations Tuesday to extend an arms embargo on Tehran that is due to expire next year as part of the embattled Iran nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council that the clock was ticking on a resolution restricting weapons sales to Iran that is due to end in October 2020.

Oil Market Can Weather Zero Iranian Exports: U.S. Officials

◢ US officials said the global oil market can withstand the removal of all Iranian crude exports this year, a conclusion that could be pivotal in the coming weeks as President Donald Trump weighs whether to end sanctions waivers granted to several nations. The message from American officials comes as OPEC and its allies prepare for a ministerial meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.

France, Britain Seek UN Security Council Meeting on Iran Missile Test

◢ France and Britain on Monday requested a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council after charging that Iran test-fired a medium-range missile at the weekend, diplomats said. The meeting is expected to be held Tuesday. The United States said the missile launch on Saturday was a violation of a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Washington has withdrawn.

US Warns to Stay Away from Iranian Shipping

◢ The United States on Wednesday warned all ports and insurance companies to steer clear of Iranian ships, which it called a "floating liability" after the imposition of sweeping US sanctions. Since Monday, the United States has aimed to end all of Iran's sales of oil, its crucial export, in a bid to curtail the influence of the Shiite cleric-led state.

US Still Ready to Talk to Iran: Official

◢ US leaders remain ready to negotiate with their Iranian counterparts but Tehran is still refusing President Donald Trump's overture to do so, a senior US official said Wednesday. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "have all made clear that we are ready to negotiate and to have those discussions," Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, told the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank.

Washington Criticizes European Aid Package for Iran

◢ A European Union aid plan for Iran sends "the wrong message at the wrong time" to the government in Tehran, the US State Department said Friday. The USD 20.7 million EU assistance package "perpetuates the regime's ability to neglect the needs of its people and stifles meaningful policy changes," read a statement Friday signed by US special representative for Iran Brian Hook.

US Creates 'Iran Action Group' to Up Pressure on Tehran

◢ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new high-level team to focus US and international efforts to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran. The Iran Action Group will drive Washington's "maximum pressure" strategy to change Tehran's behavior, including potentially sanctioning other countries which trade with the country. The group will be headed by Brian Hook as the State Department's Special Representative for Iran. 

US Sticks to Goal of Cutting Iran Oil Exports to Zero

◢ The United States remains determined to force Iran to change its behavior by cutting its oil exports to zero, the State Department said Monday, despite resistance from importing countries. Brian Hook, the senior official leading negotiations with US allies on a new Iran strategy, said Washington is confident the world has enough spare oil capacity to replace Iranian crude.