State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration

State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration
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Brian Hook, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, is resigning from the State Department, the agency announced Thursday.

“He has been a trusted advisor to me and a good friend. I thank him for his service,” Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS says it will leave Baghdad embassy if Iraq doesn't rein in attacks: report Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  MORE said in a statement. He added that Hook will be succeeded by Elliott Abrams, U.S. special envoy for Venezuela. 

Hook’s departure, which comes during a period of increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran, casts doubt on the possibility of a diplomatic initiative with Iran before the end of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE’s term.

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“There is never a good time to leave,” Hook told The New York Times, noting the confrontation with Iran had become a constant series of provocations and responses, and moves geared toward changing Tehran’s behavior.

In his statement Pompeo said that Hook “achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” highlighting him winning the release of two American captives held by Iran, Michael White and Xiyue Wang.

One of the biggest obstacles the U.S. still faces in Iran is the nation's alleged violations of the Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. pulled out of in 2018. 

“Sometimes it’s the journey and sometimes it’s the destination,’’ Hook told the Times. “In the case of our Iran strategy, it’s both. We would like a new deal with the regime. But in the meantime, our pressure has collapsed their finances.”

Hook added that “By almost every metric, the regime and its terrorist proxies are weaker than three and a half years ago. Deal or no deal, we have been very successful.”