Saturday 8 August 2020 - 13:07

Elliott Abrams — The Worst Choice for US Special Envoy for Iran

By J. Michael Springmann
Story Code : 879076
Elliott Abrams — The Worst Choice for US Special Envoy for Iran
And I think that him being made Special Envoy for Iran is going to make things much worse because he has, unlike Hook, a political background on Capitol Hill. He had been with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's office at one point, and Henry "Scoop" Jackson's campaign for president in 1975. And he was also the assistant counsel on the Senate Committee on Investigations.

So I think what he's going to be used for is working to get support in Congress for more sanctions against Iran, outside of the UN. The Trump government is going to try and get the United Nations to snap back its sanctions on Iran that had been held in abeyance for 13 years, and are due to expire in October of this year -- just two months away. So I think he's also going to be a tool to persuade Congressmen to put pressure on other members of the Security Council to push for Snapback.  He will seek ways around any possible Russian and Chinese veto of Trump's efforts to add more sanctions on Iran, with or without the Snapback program.

Why was Brian Hook fired? 

Well, I think that probably Hook had been looking at the elections and thinking about leaving. Why did they get rid of this particular envoy? Well, they simply wanted to replace him with someone who's more hardline. It's the old American attitude of being in a hole and never knowing when to stop digging. The idea that his (Hook's) policy was a success is outrageous. It certainly harmed the Iranian people, if nothing else, by blocking imports of necessary goods like medicines and food, stopping the Iranian export of oil which was the main foreign exchange earner for the country, and making life very difficult for everyone, given the virus situation in the country. It has hasn’t succeeded because Iranians are tough as nails. And they won't give up and they won't give in. But I don't think that he was necessarily fired because the policy had failed. I think they believe the policy is succeeding and, to a certain extent, it is.  It makes the life of the average Iranian on the street miserable and, worse, the economy, and the exchange rate have collapsed.

So I think that they want to push Iran over the edge with a hardliner like Elliott Abrams, who has connections to Capitol Hill, which is where Trump is very, very weak at the present. And I know that Elliott Abrams has more experience in maneuvering inside the government through his long career going back years and years and years than Brian Hook ever could learn. So I believe that this is "doubling down" on their bet to destroy Iran and that they're going to push harder in making more problems for the country.