Abu Dhabi: The American administration is still open to negotiating a new deal with Iran despite imposing fresh sanctions today, a high-ranking US adviser told reporters on Friday.
Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State, said, "We announced sanctions on Iran regime officials specifically eight Iranian leaders including Ali Shamkhani, who is the secretary of Supreme National Security Council.
“These eight have acted out Iran’s terror plots and campaigns of mayhem across the region. They are complicit in the recent murders of around 1,500 Iranians protesting their freedom,” Hook said during a telephonic press-briefing from the Brussels regional media hub.
He added, "Today we sanctioned 22 organisations and three vessels. These are vessels that have been operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors of Iran in related activities."
Hook affirmed that all of these sanctions would remain in place until the regime changes its behavior.
He, however, said the US was open to negotiating a fresh deal with Iran.
"Ready to embrace peace"
“The US is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it. The President has said he is, again, opening the door to diplomacy. He would like to see a new deal to replace the Iran deal, so that we can resolve our differences with Iran diplomatically and we invite Iran to do the same and to not meet our diplomacy with military force,” Hook said.
Hook said that the US is going to continue to act defensively and commented, “The President exercises his inherent authority to act in self-defence when attacked. We will continue to do that.
"We continue to urge the Iranian regime to de-escalate, as other countries have, and to take the diplomatic offering that has been presented time and again by the United States, by Japan, by France, by so many countries around the world.”
Iran's missile programme
On Iran’s missile programme, Hook said Iran's missile proliferation has been accumulating risk of a regional war.
Hook said, “The Iran nuclear deal, which is not only silent on ICBMs, weakened missile non-proliferation standards by ending the prohibition on Iran's ballistic missile testing. And Iran took advantage of it.
"The Iran nuclear deal incentivised countries to look the other way on Iran's non-nuclear threats to peace and security. It's very important for nations around the understand that Iran's missile programme needs to be countered. And we cannot allow the ballistic missile testing and the missile proliferation, which puts countries in the region at risk,” he added.
Hook added that if one took a look at the Iranian 'corridor of control', they have been proliferating missiles from Beirut to Sana'a.
“This is the Iranian Crescent that they have been trying to build. Much of those gains came during the time of the Iran nuclear deal and we are reversing the gains the regime has made under the deal and the pressure that we have put in place has no historic precedent.”