The Soleimani Assassination and Washington’s Relationship with Tehran

Here is the latest news from Tehran according to the Tehran Times:

…from the Islamic Republic News Agency:

….from Iran Front Page News:

….and the Fars News Agency:

In case you have forgotten, the United States killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani with a drone struck in Iraq on January 3, 2020 (which seems to be a lifetime ago).

Here's what Brian Hook, United States Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State had to say in response:

"Our assessment is that Interpol does not intervene and issue Red Notices that are based on a political nature.  This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace or promoting stability … It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously."

TO put Mr. Hook's comments into context, let's look at what he had to say about Iran in a recent virtual meeting with Jerry Seib on the Council on Foreign Relations website:

"So if you look at the Iranian economy writ large, exports are down. They are facing a massive economic contraction. That was even before COVID. Their access to foreign exchange reserves is minimal. Their government budget has big funding gaps that the regime has no idea how to fix. The IMF and the World Bank have both placed Iran’s economy as third worst in the world behind only Venezuela and Libya, which is not good company.

The Iranian regime relies on oil as its chief export to fund its malign behavior. And it’s really important I think on any strategy to counter Iran that you have to go after the oil. And for as long as we were in the Iran nuclear deal, we were not able to go after Iran’s oil exports. And in a very short period of time we have collapsed Iran’s oil sector. When we got out of the deal in May of 2018 Iran was exporting about two-point-five million barrels of oil a day. There was a Reuters story that had Iran’s export numbers for April at seventy thousand barrels a day.

This has been something that we promised to do. Secretary Pompeo in the speech that he gave after the president got out of the Iran deal, he gave the Iranian leaders a choice. He said: You can either come to the negotiating table or you can manage economic collapse. And so far, the supreme leader has made very bad decisions for his own people because he has been managing economic collapse now ever since. And so much of what we said we would do we have delivered on.

 They have not come to the negotiating table yet, but that is something which the jury is still out on that. There is still plenty of time. What we have been able to do is to constrain Iran’s power projections by denying it massive amounts of revenue. And it’s really important for people to understand just how much Iran relies on its economy to fund its expansionist foreign policy, its sectarian warfare in the gray zone. Iran has conducted terrorist operations across five continents. They need money to do that. And this regime is facing an economic crisis that it has never before seen in its forty-one-year history."

It's nice to see that Washington, and in particular its Special Envoy to Iran, has such great pleasure in how they have managed to totally destroy Iran's economy and punish its people.  Nice job Mr. Hook.  You should be proud.

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