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Meet the State Department's new Iran policy chief


WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made Brian Hook the new Special Representative for Iran, a position which puts him in charge of implementing the Trump administration's Iran policy going forward.

As part of his new duties, Hook will head the Iran Action Group, a contingent of top Iran experts from across the State Department. The group will be responsible for all things Iran- related, as the administration continues to implement its high-pressure campaign against the Iranian regime.

"The Iran Action Group will be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to me," said Pompeo during a press conference at the State Department's Washington campus.

Hook previously served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of Policy Planning. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Hook was the founder of Latitude, LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. He started his foreign policy career with the Bush administration, where he held a number of positions, including: Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, Special Assistant to the President for Policy in the White House Chief of Staff's office, and a role in the Justice Department. Hook also served as a senior assistant to then United Nations Amb. John Bolton, who currently serves as national security advisor.

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Hook told reporters that the Iran strategy he will pursue will be all-encompassing.

"And we have taken a comprehensive approach to Iran, because the scope of Iranian malign activity is so wide ranging," said Hook.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May and reimposed U.S. sanctions against the country earlier this month. He and other Iran skeptics are critical of the Obama-era agreement, which only applies to nuclear-related issues. Hook noted Iran presents a threat to the U.S. and its allies in the cyber, terrorism, and maritime domains.

"Our new strategy addresses all manifestations of the Iranian threat, and the new Iran action group will be focused on implementing that strategy," said Hook.

The new group will have to navigate a complicated diplomatic environment when implementing that new strategy. The other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal -- formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- include several U.S allies who want to continue to do business with Iran. Regardless, Hook said he believes that there are still some shared concerns.

"The United States is not alone in this regard," he said. "And I find that when we sit d own and talk with other nations, there are shared interests that we are able to pursue, and we will continue doing it."

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