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Iran Action Group To Implement Trump's New Iran Strategy

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The US Government created an Iran Action Group to implement the Trump administration's new Iran strategy to protect America's national security, and the security of its allies and partners.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the Group will be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department's Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to him.

In a news conference, Pompeo said President Donald Trump has instituted a campaign of pressure and deterrence with the hope that "one day soon we can reach a new agreement with Iran." "But we must see major changes in the regime's behavior," he told reporters.

Brian Hook, the Director of Policy Planning, will lead the Iran Action Group with the formal title of Special Representative for Iran.

Since the President's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal in May, Brian has played an important role in shaping Washington's strategy of maximum diplomatic and economic pressure.

Brian Hook said in a briefing that the Iran Action Group, composed of an elite team of foreign affairs professionals at the State Department and across the administration will play a critical role in executing the President's Iran strategy across the interagency.

He said that to muster international support for the strategy, he met in London with senior officials from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom and that discussions were productive.

Hook said the US is prepared to impose secondary sanctions on other governments that continue trade with Iran's energy sector, the Central Bank of Iran, Iran's shipping and shipbuilding sectors, among others.

Trump last week restored sanctions on Iran that he announced in May while withdrawing from the 2015 multi-nation nuclear deal with the Islamic nation.

In connection with the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Trump Administration laid out two wind-down periods of 90 days and 180 days for US business activities involving Iran.

On August 7, when the 90-day wind-down period expired, the first set of sanctions came into force.

A second phase of "snapback" sanctions is scheduled to come back into effect on November 5. They will have implications on Iran's oil exports and energy sector, financial institutions conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, Iran's port operators and shipping and ship-building sectors, and the provision of insurance and financial messaging services.

Trump withdrew from the JCPOA accusing the Iranian regime of exploiting the global financial system to fund its malign activities, and of using this funding to support terrorism.

But Iran's President refutes these allegations.

Hassan Rouhani said that Washington's call for new nuclear negotiations at the same time as it reimposes crippling sanctions "doesn't make sense" and is an attempt of "psychological warfare" aimed to "sow division among Iranians."

The European Union is against the US sanctions on Iran.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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