The Trump administration has set up a new cell within the State Department — known as the Iran Action Group — to bring both internal and external changes in Tehran’s ‘behaviour’.
“We must see major changes in the regime’s behaviour both inside and outside of its borders,” said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo while announcing the new cell on Thursday afternoon.
“The Iran Action Group will drive daily progress on these objectives and I hope do much more.”
Secretary Pompeo said the Trump administration had changed the Obama administration’s policy of appeasing Iran and was now leading a “campaign of pressure, deterrence, and solidarity with the long-suffering Iranian people”.
Mr Pompeo also introduced the new US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, who will head the Iran Action Group. Mr Hook has been the State Department’s director of policy planning since February 2017. The new group would include several permanent personnel and more experts would be added later.
Mr Hook said at the briefing that his team would focus most of its work on changing Tehran’s policy on issues of nuclear weapons, terrorism and detention of US citizens. Iran has not developed nuclear weapons but its suppoprt to Palestine cause has irked US administration since long.
In May, President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal that the United States and five other world powers signed with Iran to persuade it to cap its nuclear programme. In return, the US and other Western powers agreed to remove a set of economic sanctions, meant to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme.
Later, Mr Trump said he withdrew from the deal because it did not do enough to curb Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon or to end its alleged support to terrorism. He also ordered a phased re-imposition of US financial sanctions against Iran that had been suspended under the 2015 deal.