Iran Action Group: Clear Aims and Accelerated Steps


In a lengthy speech on the performance of the Iranian regime at home and abroad, Brian Hook, the head of the Iran Action Group, presented the US administration’s current vision of the Iranian regime and the position it should adopt to avoid US sanctions.
In his August 28 speech at the National Security Conference, Hook focused on the Iranian regime’s failure to deliver on promises made by Khomeini 39 years ago when he promised to achieve justice, equality, and prosperity. The people have seen nothing but a deterioration in freedoms, human rights, looting of resources, the channeling of resources for terrorist militias, the stirring of chaos in the region and the prosecution of ethnic groups at home. The country suffers from rampant unemployment and a plummeting national currency. This failure has forced miserable conditions on the people which they cannot bear. The people poured onto the streets last December. And they have been protesting for months.

Clear aims
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the formation of the Iran Action Group on August 16 headed by Brian Hook, director of policy planning at the US State Department to coordinate activities on Iran. Also to coordinate between the United States and its allies on its sanctions on Iran and to levy sanctions against any country that continues its trading relations with Iran after a major package of US sanctions in November.
After the group had been formed, Hook announced that his team would make a strong international effort to change the behavior of the Iranian regime. He also raised the bar for direct negotiations with Iran. He said” “If the Iranian regime shows an obligation to make fundamental changes in its behavior, the president is ready to enter into a dialogue to find solutions, but the easing of sanctions and the restoration of full diplomatic and commercial relations with the United States and economic cooperation can begin only after we see the Iranian regime changing its behavior.”

Terms that Iran must meet
In his previous statement, Hook did not specify what was required of Iran to convince the US administration that it was serious about modifying its behavior, but his last speech at the National Security Summit included specific points:
» Iran must disclose to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a statement the full military dimensions of its nuclear program, give up its program, and provide an opportunity to verify this.
» Iran must stop enriching uranium, never seek plutonium reprocessing and halt the operation of heavy water reactors.
» Iran should allow the IAEA to inspect all facilities throughout Iran without reservation.
» Iran must stop the proliferation of ballistic missiles and stop the launch or development of more nuclear-capable missile systems.
» Iran should release all American citizens detained, in addition to the detainees of US allies, who were arrested on trumped-up charges.
» Iran should stop supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine.
» Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and allow the disarmament, disbandment and reintegration of Shiite militias.
» Iran must withdraw all forces under its command entirely from Syria.
» Iran should stop supporting the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan and in the region. It should also stop harboring senior al-Qaeda leaders.
» Iran must stop Quds Force supporting terrorists around the world.
» Iran must stop threatening its neighbors, most of which are allies of the United States, as well as launching ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It must stop threats to disrupt international shipments and launch cyber-attacks.

Iran’s reaction
The Iranian media considered the Iranian Action Group as a reaction to Rouhani’s speech to the American administration. He expressed sorrow for severing bridges of dialogue between the two countries. The Iranian media blamed Rouhani for his speech. It said his language signaled a state of inferiority and weakness. The official position by the Supreme Leader is to refuse negotiations with the US even if unconditional as previously declared by the US President Donald Trump. Many Iranian political analysts have said that there is no point in direct negotiations with the United States before sanctions are lifted.
Although US officials did not say how the group was working, one of the pro-regime writers (Mohammad Sadiq Husseini) wrote of the group’s work, saying a security-diplomatic source from one of the great European countries confirmed the following:
(A) The members of this group and the details of their work shall remain confidential, which indicates that they will carry out secret missions, not transparent and declared diplomatic ones.
(B) Several groups have been formed to be the ‘field arm’ of this group. These groups include:
1- The military action group, whose mission is to transfer and deliver weapons to Iran.
2- The Democracy Dissemination Group, whose mission is to transfer funds to groups active in this field in Iran.
3- The Economy and Development Group, whose mission is to monitor Iranian financial activities and operations.
4- The Special Relations Group, whose task is to conduct a thorough study of Iran’s relations with organizations in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and other “terrorist” organizations.
(C) The tasks of the working groups indicate that they aim to:
» prepare internal disturbances in a way which is like the velvet revolution in Iran in the short and medium term, in the remaining part of 2018 and early 2019. This will happen by increasing pressure on the Iranian state through squeezing its economy, which will prompt Iranians to take to the streets.
» Exploit the wave of internal unrest to prepare for military action against the Iranian state, through internal groups linked to America’s project.

New Phase Begun
The group is taking rapid steps to push the Iranian regime to change its behavior through economic pressure. It also seeks to establish critical requirements to prevent Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons and to develop a strategy with neighboring countries on Iran. Although Pompeo declared the group to be part of the US State Department, it appears that it will play a coordinating role between departments in the US administration. It shall also have an external role in coordinating with US allies on the implementation of sanctions against Iran and imposing new sanctions on countries that deal economically with Tehran, especially as Hook has already negotiated with the Europeans to reach a new nuclear agreement. But this failed because of Iranian stubbornness.

Editorial Team