US officials – no matter who – bite off more than they can chew when it comes to Iran: Foreign Ministry

Iran has played down reports about the departure of Washington’s special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, saying it does not matter who takes that charge because when it comes to the Islamic Republic, American officials are given more responsibility than they can handle.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in a statement on Thursday that Hook, one of the few national security officials to survive the disarray in the US foreign policy team through most of President Donald Trump’s term, was stepping down from his post after two years.

Hook will be replaced with Elliott Abrams, who currently serves as the US Department of State’s special representative for Venezuela and is a hard-liner on Iran, too.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Friday reacted to the announcement in Twitter posts.

“When it comes to the US #Iran policy, American officials have bitten off more than they could chew,” the Iranian official said in a tweet under the hashtag #BankruptUSPolicy.

“This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors,” Mousavi added.

Hook’s departure comes at a critical time and only a day after the US introduced an anti-Iran resolution in the UN Security Council in an attempt to extend a soon-to-expire weapons embargo.

“We have tabled a resolution that we think accomplishes what we think needs to be accomplished,” said Hook at the virtual Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday.

Hook, 52, has been the point man in Trump’s so-called “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo since the president withdrew Washington from the 2015 international nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He was leading the charge on efforts to prevent the lifting of the arms embargo on Iran, which will expire in October under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the nuclear accord.

Abrams, 72, a Republican foreign policy veteran, was named US special representative for Venezuela in January 2019 and has led a hawkish approach aimed at removing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

In a tweet on Friday, Secretary of Iran’s National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said the Islamic Republic’s “active resistance” against Washington’s ‘maximum pressure’ has resulted in Hook’s departure, and may force his boss Pompeo to resign as well.

Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, also said Hook’s departure “does not concern us and is not something we consider as a game-changer.”

“The so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign waged by the US government has failed,” he told Reuters. “Iran is not on its knees, and will not do so regardless of who is in charge of implementing this bankrupt policy. Active Resistance.”

Although it is no longer a party to the deal, Washington has recently launched a campaign to renew the embargo that concerns the sales of conventional weapons to the Islamic Republic.

To try and rationalize its bid, the US says it is still “named” as a JCPOA partner in Resolution 223. Tehran and other JCPOA partners say Washington, due to its unilateral withdrawal, has forfeited all rights to have any say in the agreement.

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