U.S. is open to talks with Iran: Brian Hook

December 14, 2019 - 20:46

TEHRAN – Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, says the United States is open to dialogue with Iran even as Washington reinforces sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran remains a threat to international peace and security, Hook claimed in a Bloomberg interview published on Saturday.

Tensions started to build up between the U.S. and Iran after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and imposed sanctions against Tehran in a bid to put maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic. 

The Trump administration has also made empty calls for talks, but the Islamic Republic maintains that as long as the sanctions are in place and the U.S. refuses to return to the JCPOA, negotiations will be meaningless.

Hook accused Iran of being behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities in September, saying the Saudi government at some point will present evidence of Iran’s complicity to the United Nations Security Council.

Tehran has repeatedly rejected any involvement in the attack warning that if “any moves” takes place against Iran, they will face an immediate response.

Back in September, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “even the Saudis themselves don’t believe the fiction of Iranian involvement” in the attack on the Aramco oil facilities.

Hook also pointed to the recent protests in Iran, saying the protests were “anti-regime” in nature even if they aren’t evidence of pro-U.S. sentiment.

Protests erupted in Iran on November 15 after the government announced an increase in the price of gasoline, a subsidized commodity that is still cheaper in Iran than other countries in the world.

Protesters turned violent in many cities and towns, but ended after a few days.

Top judicial, political and military figures in Iran have insisted that there is a difference between peaceful protestors and rioters.

During the interview, Hook also claimed the U.S. sanctions do not restrict imports of medical supplies into Iran and are not causing a humanitarian crisis there.

It came days after Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said the United States lies when it says pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are not subject to its sanctions list on Iran.

Namaki has also said the U.S. is exerting pressure on all pharmaceutical companies to stop the sale of medicine to Iran.

“They have put pressure on all our financial transactions regarding medicinal drugs and are exerting pressure on all pharmaceutical companies to stop the sale of medicines to us,” he said.


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