Today, Secretary of State Pompeo announced the formation of an “Iran Action Group” within the State Department. He described its goal as convincing Iran to act like a “normal nation.” In reality, it just mirrors previous unsuccessful efforts to destabilize Iran from within and will reinforce concerns that the Trump Administration is committed to regime change in Iran.
Brian Hook, the new special envoy leading the Iran Action Group, has been in charge of implementing the President’s flawed maximum pressure campaign — including threatening our allies with secondary sanctions. He claimed today that the sanctions reimposition is designed solely to deny Iran the revenue stream it uses to fund terrorism, and not to trigger a rift with our allies. However, despite his intent to create international support for Trump foreign policy, there is no way to keep our abrogation of the nuclear agreement from isolating us from our allies and partners around the world.
Robert Malley, former Special Assistant to President Obama and senior White House advisor for the JCPOA negotiations said, “Today’s announcement by Secretary Pompeo is another step in a misguided approach towards Iran that jeopardizes the progress made by the JCPOA for the sake of illusory and dangerous goals. Better inter-agency coordination to implement a policy that is rooted in wishful thinking about the imminent collapse or surrender of the Iranian regime and a non-existent international consensus won’t make the United states any safer”.
President Trump has made bad decision after bad decision on Iran. He cast the JCPOA into a constant state of uncertainty before officially violating it in May, is now reimplementing sanctions that hurt our allies, and alternates between aggressive rhetoric and the offer of talks. In order to succeed in diplomacy our nation must be a credible partner, but Trump and his team have done nothing but undermine our credibility around the globe. The Iran Action Group is just the next step in a dangerously inconsistent policy of which the only cohesive principle seems to be support for destabilizing the Iranian government.