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Pompeo announces new USA push to create "major changes" in Iran's behavior

18 August 2018

Accusing Iran of being involved in "a torrent of violent and destabilising behaviour" against the United States and its allies for nearly 40 years, Pompeo said, "We are committed to a whole-of-government effort to change the Iranian regime's behaviour". "The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation".

He also said that Washington is stepping up its effort to get other countries to fall in line with economic pressure on Tehran, including the crackdown on Iran's oil trade, financial sector and shipping industry announced for early November.

Hook, who served in a variety of roles during the George W. Bush administration including three months as assistant secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, has been director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Pompeo since February 2017.

Iran is extremely unlikely to take military action, while the USA believes time is in its favour as it increases pressure on Iran to see what concessions it can extract and how hard to push.

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"Our hope is that one day soon we can reach a new agreement with Iran", Pompeo said.

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has created an "elite team" at the State Department on Iran policy hoping to streamline execution of its newly aggressive strategy toward the Islamic republic.

When AP's Matt Lee noted that the announcement of the Iran Action Group is taking place on the anniversary of the 1953 US-backed coup, and asked if this suggested "regime change", Hook responded that the timing is "pure coincidence" and that the IAG is aimed at "changing the Iranian regime's behavior".

"This is a strong rebuke to the mullahs who are betting that the Trump administration may become weaker over time, too preoccupied with domestic politics to pay much attention to Iran", Dubowitz told CNN. US President Donald Trump pulled out of an global nuclear deal with Iran in May and has directed his administration to apply "maximum economic pressure" on the country to change its behavior.

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"The primary goal of this group is restricted to serving as a bureaucratic hub for a disconnected USA strategy and managing the complex process of appeasing or pressuring countries around the world to abide by U.S. sanctions on Iran", Macaron told Middle East Eye via email.

Hook also said Thursday that the USA is willing to impose secondary sanctions on governments that continue to deal with Iran.

Calling the accord as an "embarrassment" that was "defective at its core", Trump also warned of severe consequences if Iran resumed its nuclear programme.

Hook said he met with German, French and British officials in London this week for "productive discussions on Iran", and "will continue to build on those areas where we are in agreement with our allies and partners around the world, and we will work to find consensus on those areas where we are not".

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He said the administration remains willing to talk to Iran but that in order to do so "we must see major changes in the regime's behavior both inside and outside its borders". "THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted. He also issued a warning to governments that do not comply.

Pompeo announces new USA push to create