The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, reiterated that “we are sanctioning Iran on an almost weekly basis and there is still plenty left for us to do… we are essentially putting the Iranian regime on the horns of a dilemma. They can either spend money on guns in Syria or butter in Iran. And we are putting them in a position where it becomes very hard for them to keep spending the billions that they used to in places like Syria”. Citing the attacks against tankers off the UAE coast in May 2019 and Aramco facilities in September 2019, Hook also contended that some countries “fear that if they identify Iran as the aggressor, that it will somehow escalate tensions. It will have the exact opposite effect. And so what I’ve been advising countries around the world is to, you have to identify Iran by name… that is part of the diplomatic isolation”. He additionally posited “that the U.S. pressure campaign has hit a nerve with the Iranian regime. And so they’re lashing out, but they’re doing it in very dangerous and escalatory ways that I think are going to backfire on the regime”.
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