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US envoy on Iran to visit India, Europe to promote pushing back on regime

“During this trip, Special Representative Brian Hook will engage our allies and partners on our shared need to counter the entirety of the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior in the Middle East, and in their own neighborhoods,” according to the State Department.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room at the Department of State, Aug. 16, 2018. Credit: U.S. Department of State/Flickr.
U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook at the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group in the Press Briefing Room at the Department of State, Aug. 16, 2018. Credit: U.S. Department of State/Flickr.

U.S. senior policy advisor to the Secretary of State and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook will be in India and Europe next week to promote the American pushback against the Iranian threat.

“During this trip, Special Representative Hook will engage our allies and partners on our shared need to counter the entirety of the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior in the Middle East and in their own neighborhoods,” according to the State Department.

In India, Hook and Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon will meet with their Indian counterparts to encourage the country to eliminate their dependence on Iranian oil, despite Indian companies looking to import 9 million barrels of it in November.

India is expected to attempt to receive exemptions from U.S. sanctions as the second round is scheduled to take effect on Nov. 4.

“India is second only to China as an importer of Iranian oil,” wrote Behnam Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Axios. “September data from Tanker Trackers showed New Delhi importing just under half a million barrels of crude oil per day from Tehran—almost one-quarter of the country’s total crude exports for that month.”

The State Department has already showed its dismay over India’s hope. “The president had addressed it. I believe it was just earlier today which he was asked about that question about whether or not India would buy oil from Iran after sanctions are reimposed,” department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday.

“He was asked also about CAATSA sanctions and possible imposition of CAATSA sanctions,” she added. “And he said, you know, India is going to find out.”

Nauert also said, “I’m not going to get ahead of [the president], but certainly when we hear about things such as purchasing oil or the S-400 systems, it’s not helpful.”

Hook’s European stops include Luxembourg, France and Belgium.

In Luxembourg, he will attend meetings with officials at the European Union meeting of Ministers. In France, Hook and Bureau of Energy Resources officials will meet with International Energy Agency executive director Faith Birol, who warned about the increase in oil prices worldwide due to sanctions against Iran. Finally, in Belgium he will meet with E.U. counterparts to discuss Iran’s missile proliferation.

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