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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 PompeoMike PompeoUS intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online Five things to watch at CPAC 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 TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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.”