A top player in President Donald Trump’s foreign policy team has resigned.
U.S. special envoy for Iran Brian Hook, who played a prominent role in shaping the Trump administration’s Iran policy, is calling it quits, The New York Times reports.
Iran point man steps down
News of Hook’s departure was shared by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who credited him with “historic results countering the Iranian regime,” according to the Times.
“He has been a trusted adviser to me and a good friend. I thank him for his service,” Pompeo added, according to Fox News.
Entering the White House under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Hook was promoted to special envoy for Iran under Pompeo, where he leaves arguably his biggest legacy: the administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran. According to Politico, the State Department has slammed the Iranian regime, under a policy of “maximum pressure,” with punishing sanctions in pursuit of a replacement to former President Barack Obama’s nuclear accord, which Trump scrapped, setting the stage for historic tensions between the two countries.
Hook’s departure comes as America seeks to extend an arms embargo against Iran at the United Nations, Reuters notes.
According to The New York Times, Hook’s replacement is Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special representative for Venezuela and an Iran “hardliner” who was caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. He has also been described as an architect of the Iraq War.
“Survivor” leaves Trump admin
Although Hook’s political views didn’t align closely with Donald Trump’s — he once worked for former National Security Adviser John Bolton, then an ambassador to the U.N., in the George W. Bush administration — he was one of the longest-lasting officials at the State Department, the Times noted. According to Politico, Hook was briefly considered for the role of National Security adviser after Bolton left the Trump administration.
Colleagues described Hook as a consummate negotiator, and in Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) words, a “survivor.”
To be sure, Hook has his detractors among those who think the “maximum pressure” campaign has not been successful in bringing Iran to the table. But Hook is sticking to his guns.
“Sometimes it’s the journey and sometimes it’s the destination,” Hook said Wednesday, according to the New York Times. “In the case of our Iran strategy, it’s both. We would like a new deal with the regime.”
Hook went on: “By almost every metric, the regime and its terrorist proxies are weaker than three and a half years ago. Deal or no deal, we have been very successful.”