11:21 GMT21 June 2021
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    US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on Monday delivered remarks on the Trump administration's policy toward Tehran and participated in a discussion at the Asia Society In conjunction with the 74th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    Hook said on Monday that Washington seeks comprehensive negotiations with Iran, including on the issue of missile development and mitigating global terrorism, adding that Washington was seeking a global coalition countering Tehran and that it was going to act "prudently".

    "It is that Iran has crossed the line by this attack on another country's sovereignty", Hook said at an Asia Society event in New York, adding that the United States was seeking to address the issue through diplomacy and a multilateral effort and that there was a role for the United Nations Security Council to play.

    Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) would be possible, but only in the 5+1 format similiar to that used for the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and not at a bilateral level.

    Hook asserted earlier that the US held the position that the JCPOA was a bad agreement and that the goal of the Trump administration is to negotiate a new accord that would, in his explanation, lead all parties to peace and security in the Middle East.

    Hook suggested that Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA because the agreement provided Iran with a path to build a nuclear weapon. The US president is keen, however to reach a diplomatic solution, Hook said.

    US Would Like EU to Impose Sanctions Related to Iran's Missile, Drone Programs

    US Special Envoy for Iran also said Monday that Washington would like to see the European Union impose sanctions on those who support Iran's missile and drone programs.

    "We would like to see the European Union impose sanctions on those individuals and entities that are facilitating Iran's missile program and its drone program, which is behind these strikes," Hook said.

    Hook added that there has to be an international effort to encounter Iran's activity in the Middle East region.

    In the early hours of 14 September, a drone attack targeted Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing facilities, forcing the national oil company to shut them down. This resulted in a more than twofold drop in Saudi Arabia's daily net oil output. Although responsibility for the attack was claimed by the military wing of Yemen's Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis, the United States and Saudi Arabia have put the blame on Iran. Tehran has refuted the accusations.

    Mideast at Risk of Regional Conflict

    Brian Hook also said during remarks at the Asia Society in New York that the Middle East is at risk of falling into a regional conflict if the international community continues ignore alleged Iranian aggression.

    "We are one missile strike away from a regional war, we are accumulating risk of a regional war if we do not reestablish deterrence [...] If we accept a culture of largely inaction and accepting Iranian answers we are increasing the risk of a regional conflict", Hook said Monday. 

    Hook added that Iran's activity is an international problem, pointing out that the attack on Saudi oil facilities was an attack on the global energy market.

    The Trump adminstration withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and subsequently imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran, and has worked to block oil trade with Tehran after announcing that Washginton would attempt to reduce the Islamic republic's oil exports to zero.

    Iran announced in May its decision to steadily abandon its own JCPOA obligations every 60 days, unless the other signatories attempt to save the accord by facilitating oil exports and trade with Iran.

    Rouhani will arrive in New York City on Monday to participate in the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

    The visit will take place against the background of tensions with the United States, which further escalated after Washington blamed a recent drone attack on Saudi Aramco's oil facilities on Tehran.


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