US forms ‘Iran Action Group’ to run aggressive policy toward Tehran

Press TV – The US State Department has formed an “Iran Action Group” to coordinate and run an aggressive US policy toward the Islamic Republic on the eve of the 65th anniversary of a previous American action against Iran – the CIA-led 1953 coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of the “Iran Action Group” on Thursday, saying that the initiative would be “directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity.”

The group will be headed by senior policy adviser Brian Hook, who is currently the State Department’s director of policy planning. He will report directly to Pomepo.

“Our hope is that one day soon we can reach an agreement with Iran but we must see major changes in the regime both inside and outside of its borders,” Pompeo said in a brief address at the State Department.

“The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation. The Iran Action Group will drive daily progress on these objectives, and I hope do much more,” he added.

The US State Department’s director of policy planning and head of the Iran Action Group, Brian Hook (L), shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the announcement of the “Iran Action Group” during a press briefing at the State department in Washington, DC, August 16, 2018. (AFP photo)

The top US diplomat went on to say that the State Department is committed to a whole of government effort to change Tehran’s “behavior.”

Pomepo’s announcement falls on the 65th anniversary of the CIA coup against Mossadegh. The 1953 United States covert action overthrew Mossadegh in favor of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on 19 August 1953.

Is there a message intended for Tehran?

Some political analysts wondered if there was a message intended for Tehran.

Veteran political commentator in New York Don DeBar said there may be a message, but that it may not be intended for the Iranian people. “Personally, I suspect that if there was a message intended, it was for domestic consumption here, to make it appear that Trump is being tough while allowing him to strike a reasonable deal with Iran. It’s the same tactic they used with North Korea.”

Meanwhile, American writer and political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch told Press TV that the United States “has always maintained a coterie of war planners intent on fomenting war with Iran.”

“The new and most significant piece here is the announcement by Pompeo, which amounts to more aggressive saber-rattling from the war dogs of Empire. Unfortunately for these, what is also new is the growing strategic integration between China and Russia, who are more determined than ever to prevent another reckless and murderous US war adventure,” he stated.

W. Averell Harriman (left), US President Harry S. Truman’s personal foreign policy adviser, conferring with Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh in 1951. An interpreter sits between them. (AP file photo)

US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May, and said that he plans to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

In August, Trump signed an executive order reimposing many sanctions on Iran to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the Islamic Republic. Trump repeated his opinion that the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran was a “horrible, one-sided deal.”

Trump also warned that nations that do not gradually reduce their ties to the Iranian economy “risk severe consequences” under the reimposed sanctions.

Hook: It was ‘pure coincidence’

However, Pomepo’s special representative for Iran, Hook, claimed it was “pure coincidence” the action group is being formed on the anniversary of the 1953 coup — which was orchestrated by the US and UK under the name “TPAJAX Project” or “Operation Ajax”.

Hook refused to name people working in the dedicated group, but said it is launching with a “core staff of several permanent personnel.”

“This team is committed to a strong global effort to change the Iranian regime’s behavior,” he added.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015 by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the US, plus Germany under then US President Barack Obama.

Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday night that the United States isolated itself when it left the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Today the US’ closest allies, apart from a few of our neighbors, are no longer aligned with Washington,” said Zarif during a television interview.

The second wave of sanctions that would hit on November 4 would aim to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero as claimed by US officials.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ordered officials and institutions in charge to prepare to build up the country’s enrichment capacity in case the nuclear deal falls apart after the US unilaterally scrapped it.