After leaving nuke deal, US forms Iran Action Group

Washington: Barely three months after Washington pulled out from the Iran nuclear deal, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced the creation of the Iran Action Group (IAG) in a bid to pressurise Tehran to change its ways.

Pompeo elucidated that the IAG would play a crucial role in reviewing, coordinating and directing “all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity”, adding that the group would report directly to him.

Accusing Iran of being involved in “a torrent of violent and destabilising behaviour” against the US and its allies for almost 40 years, Pompeo said, “We are committed to a whole-of-government effort to change the Iranian regime’s behaviour.”

He announced that Brian Hook, who is the current director of Policy Planning in the US State Department, would spearhead the new group and take the reins as the Special Representative for Iran.

Giving a stern warning to Tehran to change its behaviour, especially on its nuclear approach, Pompeo underlined that the IAG would help to closely synchronise with inter-agency partners of the US State Department and lead diplomatic efforts by Washington to “galvanise international support for our efforts.”

On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced their withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal which limited the country’s uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief.
Calling the accord as an “embarrassment” that was “defective at its core”, Trump also warned of severe consequences if Iran resumed its nuclear programme.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed between six countries in 2015 – Iran, US, Britain, Germany, Russia, France and China for lifting economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limitations to the country’s nuclear programme.

Earlier this month, Washington decided to reinstate the sanctions on Iran, which were lifted by former president Barack Obama in 2015 to create pressure on Iran while creating a rift with Europe, reported the New York Times.

This came after Pompeo said that the restoration of the sanctions is an important pillar in the US policy toward Iran.

Pompeo further said that the goal of these sanctions was to get Iran to stop supporting the ill- governance and uprisings in the Middle-East, adding that “enormous change” was required by the Iranian government to break free of the US sanctions.

More sanctions would be imposed on Iran in November, which includes barring Iran’s sale of crude oil and transactions with its Central Bank. On the other hand, Tehran said that it would not engage in talks with the US and has been involved in back-and-forth jibes with the Trump administration on Washington’s “hardline approach.” (ANI)