US will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran: Brian Hook

US will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran: Brian Hook
US Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook said Washington has made clear it will respond with military force if US interests are attacked by Iran. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 May 2019

US will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran: Brian Hook

US will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran: Brian Hook
  • Hook says US waiting for results of investigation into tanker attacks off UAE coast before discussing proper response
  • The Iran envoy said the US repositioning of military assets has had desired deterrent effect on Iranian regime

DUBAI: The United States will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by Iran, the US Iran envoy said on Thursday as Arab leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia to discuss what they see as the threat from Tehran amid rising tensions.
But US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said US actions taken so far in the Gulf region, which include repositioning military assets, have had the “desired deterrent effect on the (Iranian) regime’s risk calculations.”
The US military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East in a move that US officials said was made to counter “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
Hook was speaking to reporters by phone ahead of emergency summits of Arab leaders in the Saudi city of Makkah due on Thursday to discuss drone strikes on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.
Hook said the US was waiting for results of the investigation into the tanker attacks off the UAE coast before discussing a proper response
Tehran has denied involvement in either attack.
The US is pursuing what it calls a “maximum pressure campaign” of sanctions against Iran to reduce its revenue streams from oil and other economic activities, in an attempt to curb what it sees as Tehran’s disruptive policies in the region.
Responding to a question about China and India importing Iranian oil and whether it was possible for them to keep importing small amounts, Hook said there would be no more exceptions granted to sanctions against Iran oil imports.
“There will be no more oil waivers granted,” he said, adding that any oil imported by any country beyond waiver limits that ran from November last year to May, would be subject to sanctions.
Trump also said that Iran’s economy is suffering from US sanctions and that the country is becoming a “weakened nation.”
As tensions between Washington and Tehran escalate, Trump claims Iran wants to make a deal.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, however, that negotiating with the US would bring nothing but harm.
He said Wednesday that his country will not negotiate on issues related to its military capabilities. He insists that Iran isn’t looking to acquire nuclear weapons — not because of sanctions or the United States, but because they are forbidden under Islamic Sharia law.
At the White House on Thursday, Trump told reporters: “If they want to talk, I’m available.”
Meanwhile, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the threat from Iran is not over but quick action from the United States has helped deter it.
“I don’t think this threat is over, but I do think you can make at least a conditional claim that the quick response and the deployment and other steps that we took did serve as a deterrent,” Bolton told reporters during a visit to London.
Asked whether he was at odds with President Donald Trump, who said earlier this week that the US was not looking for regime change in Iran, he said: “The policy we’re pursuing is not a policy of regime change. That’s the fact and everybody should understand it that way.”
Bolton said there was some prospect that evidence Iran was behind attacks this month on oil tankers in the Gulf would be presented to the United Nations Security Council next week.
“I don’t think anybody who is familiar with the situation in the region, whether they have examined the evidence or not, has come to any conclusion other than that these attacks were carried out by Iran or their surrogates,” he said.