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U.S. Envoy Stresses 'Strong Approach' On Iran Sanctions

U.S. -- The State Department's director of policy planning and head of the Iran Action Group, Brian Hook, speaks about the "Iran Action Group" during a press briefing at the State department in Washington, August 16, 2018

In an exclusive interview with the Dubai based Al Aarbiya TV channel, State Department Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook has said that the United States will take major steps to avoid Iran’s evasion of sanctions.

Hook emphasized the United States position on Iran’s activities abroad, saying “We will impose our sanctions vigorously…and will deny this dictatorship the revenue it needs to fund malign activities in Europe and around the world.”

During previous sanctions Iran operated elaborate schemes to avoid the impact of the measures. Hook acknowledged previous shortcomings in sanctions regime saying “Iran evaded sanctions in the past but this time we are taking a much stronger approach."

Hook also repeated previous remarks made by U.S. officials that the sanctions will get tougher in 2019.

On the issue of oil sanctions, Hook highlighted cooperation with Saudi Arabia and stressed that temporary waivers offered to some of Iran's oil customers are meant to balance the world oil market, while maintaining pressure on Iran.

Asked if the U.S. can reach its goal of zero Iranian oil exports in six months, Hook said it depends on the oil market, but Washington remains optimistic.

On the issue of European cooperation with U.S. sanctions, Hunt acknowledged some differences with EU governments but reiterated that European companies are abiding by the sanctions' rules.

Brian Hook traveled to Jerusalem last week where he met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed Iran. Noting that "Now that we have reimposed our sanctions we're in a position to really go after all of the revenue streams that Iran uses to fund Hamas and Hezbollah."