Briefing on Iran

Special Briefing
Brian Hook
Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Special Representative for Iran 
Lotte New York Palace Hotel
New York City
September 25, 2018


MR PALLADINO: Thanks for coming. Good evening. Welcome. Special guests tonight are Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook. He’ll be speaking about Iran. This briefing is on the record but embargoed until its completion.

I’m going to turn it over to Brian to make some introductory remarks. We’re then going to take questions. Please limit questions to one. I’ll call on you and we’ll try to get as many in as possible. Thanks. Mr. Hook.

MR HOOK: It’s exciting to be here, 73rd General Assembly, and I’ll just make – I’m just going to speak briefly and then happy to take questions.

We had the President give his remarks to the UN General Assembly today. The President will be giving remarks – and included Iran, talked about Iran in his UNGA remarks. He’ll be talking about Iran tomorrow in the UN Security Council. The Secretary of State gave a speech about the – Iran’s violations of international law, Iran’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions, Iran’s behavior violating the spirit of the UN charter, and gave a tour of the world of Iran’s malign activities. They are not limited to the Middle East.

And then Ambassador Bolton also made remarks on Iran. I did a panel with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and with the Emirati Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. It was moderated by Dennis Ross, which was a good opportunity to talk about Iran’s regional activities and their expansionist aims.

And then we also released a new report today. Emily’s going to be handing out some copies. This is the first report produced by the Iran Action Group. It’s titled Outlaw Regime: A Chronicle of Iran’s Destructive Activities. And it is broken into various chapters looking at terrorism, Iran’s missile program, their illicit financial activities, Iran’s threats to maritime security, Iran’s threats to cyber security, human rights abuses in Iran, and the systematic destruction of Iran’s environment by this regime. And I think that has been something which has been under-reported.

The last chapter here, Chapter 7, shows people walking over a dried-up riverbed and goes through the corruption and the mismanagement at the highest levels of the regime that produced years of environmental exploitation and the water shortages, the drought, what it’s done to agriculture, the number of dams they built. Many people have protested the regime’s environmental policies. They’ve asked for clean water. They’ve asked for clean air. They’ve asked for the kind of land where you can farm. And in response, people have been jailed and killed for protesting the regime’s environmental policies.

And so I encourage everybody to – I think this is something which – I can’t speak for the last administration, but we think it’s important for – to expose not only the national security aspects around missiles and cyber and the like, but also what it’s done to the environment and on human rights abuses.

QUESTION: Does it have a chapter on Flint?

MR HOOK: Great question, Matt.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Just curious.

MR HOOK: So that report is now out. You can get – the Secretary tweeted it out today. Emily has got some hard copies I’m happy to pass around. We have more reporters than copies, but I’ll let you – you can download it digitally and so – pass those around.

Happy to answer any questions.

QUESTION: Have --

MR HOOK: I’m sorry, you’re?

MR PALLADINO: Wall Street Journal, Mike.

QUESTION: Brian, has the United States sought any meetings with Iran over the past month or so through diplomatic channels? Perhaps not at the head of state level but at other levels?

MR HOOK: I remember answering this question for you already. There have been no efforts. Everything that is being said is being said publicly. When the President talks and the Secretary of State talks and says that we have an ear open, we are happy to meet and to discuss the kinds of things that we’re seeking and the kinds of things that we’re willing to do in return. And this is a regime – the ayatollah has said that we require hostility with the United States. We require hostility. This is an aspect of revolutionary regimes which makes it difficult to get to the table.

Iran historically comes to the table after extensive pressure, and so everything that is being said is being said publicly. There’s been no shortage of tweets from Rouhani today and Zarif and others, and so it’s all been out in the open.

QUESTION: Wait, just real quickly, sorry. To follow up, Rouhani, though, said that the U.S. is seeking talks with --

MR HOOK: We publicly said that we – we will talk with the Iranian regime about all of their malign behavior. We would like to get a new agreement with Iran that is not limited to the nuclear program, but that covers the entire range of threats. And we’ve also said publicly what we are willing to do in return.

MR PALLADINO: Okay. All right, New York Times.

MR HOOK: Gardiner.

QUESTION: Hey. Oh, God. (Laughter.) So Europe, it’s – is it a family squabble or – which you all have been saying for a long time or – after the speeches today or is it a serious breach? And is it worth this serious breach with your allies to put this increased pressure on Iran?

MR HOOK: Well, the Secretary said today that he is deeply disappointed to hear Federica Mogherini talk about setting up a special payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions and he spoke about that in his speech today. The truth of the matter is that the private sector around the world has understood our sanctions message very clearly. We will vigorously and aggressively enforce our sanctions in order to put maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime.

The private sector has heard this message around the world and that’s why you see major companies from Europe to Asia getting out of Iran and terminating business. And so companies have a choice to either do business in Iran or in the United States. And they are making those decisions based on what makes business sense. Potential deals with Iran just pale in comparison with deals in the United States.

And so I don’t want to speculate about specific hypothetical business transactions and what would be sanctionable, but as the Secretary said – I don’t know if he said this today, but our policy is that regardless of what kind of special purpose vehicle or other mechanism is created, the United States will vigorously enforce our sanctions, and the private sector understands this. We have had road shows that have gone to almost 30 countries around the world explaining the re-imposition of our sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA. The private sector understands this. You’ve had well over a hundred major corporations long before yesterday’s announcement about – or today’s about a special vehicle.

And I’ve also said this: I think there is more daylight between European companies and the EU than there is between the U.S. and our European allies.

QUESTION: How is – how are your relations with Europe, just to follow up? How would you characterize --

MR HOOK: Oh, they’re very strong. I mean, I’m in regular communication and so is the Secretary with the UK, France, Italy, Croatia, Italy, Latvia – I mean, the list goes on. And so I’m doing meetings here with my three counterparts. We’ve got a lot of work to do together and we share a – kind of a similar threat assessment in many ways, and I think we all understand that Iran’s missile proliferation is a problem that is getting worse, not better, and we need to get after it.

MR PALLADINO: Right here, right in front.

QUESTION: Yes, Nazira Karimi, Afghan journalist. As long as you know that Afghanistan and Iran is close neighbor, do you think that the relationship between Iran and United States be impact to Afghanistan or affect, I mean --

MR HOOK: Tell me a little bit more.

QUESTION: The United States and Iran relationship --

MR HOOK: Yes.

QUESTION: -- has any impact to Afghanistan situation? Because we are close neighbors.

MR HOOK: Well, when you look at --

QUESTION: And also there is report that Iran support Taliban also.

MR HOOK: Right. Yeah, I believe we talked about that today – earlier today about Iran’s – the regime’s support for the Taliban. Afghanistan is – when the Secretary was doing a tour around the world, Afghanistan is also an area where Iran has prolonged suffering, exacerbated tensions there in their support for the Taliban. I’ll defer Afghanistan questions to our new special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.

MR PALLADINO: Yeah, very good. Okay, let’s go to Lesley.

QUESTION: Brian, is there anything that the U.S. can do to stop this special – this SPV that the Europeans are talking about? I mean, that could really undermine what the U.S. is trying to do.

MR HOOK: It can’t.

QUESTION: Why not?

MR HOOK: It can’t undermine it.

QUESTION: I mean, they were --

MR HOOK: Because the revenue – what we’re talking about is so small that it’s insignificant. All the major corporations have made their decisions to leave the Iranian market. It’s all out there in the public. You can see all the European companies that have made their decision. And they’re doing it because they’re making their decisions based on business. And so as I said earlier, companies have a choice either to do business in Iran or in the United States. Very few companies are going to choose Iran over the United States, and so that’s just the economic reality. And so I really don’t think we need to spend a lot of time on special purpose vehicles. It’s – I really – there’s some risk of, like, over-emphasizing its importance. Certainly, Federica Mogherini can talk about that, but we just don’t see it as a big factor.

MR PALLADINO: Nick Schifrin.

QUESTION: Going around the idea of a special purpose vehicle to a larger point about Europe, which is it’s been a chilly relationship, obviously, and they’ve been a little – have a bit of a cold shoulder since the U.S. pulled out of the deal. But don’t you need Europe moving forward? If the goal here is to really counteract Iranian malign behavior on the nuclear deal, don’t you need in the end European sanctions, European pressure, worldwide pressure if Iran – if you are going to get Iran to the table, which the President and you have suggested as well as one of the goals?

MR HOOK: I think the sanctions that we have in place and other sanctions that exist around the world – and our sanctions are going to be increasing come November – Iran generally comes to the table, and historically it’s been the case they respond to pressure. And so we believe that Iran is going to be faced with a choice of either continuing along their current path or facing – or facing much deeper economic isolation.

The Secretary today made the point that trying to bypass U.S. sanctions is counterproductive because you’re sustaining revenues to the regime. And by doing that you are helping Iran maintain its status as the number-one state sponsor of terror in the world. Look at something like Yemen. They have given hundreds of millions of dollars to the Houthis, and they have provided UAVs, they have provided explosive boat technologies, and they’ve supplied hundreds of missiles. The hundreds of millions of dollars that they’ve given to Yemen has intensified, prolonged, and deepened the conflict. That money comes from commercial revenues, and we have no interest in punishing companies per se. We work backwards from our end states of our national security objectives to deny Iran the hundreds of millions of dollars that it needs to make Yemen even worse than it otherwise would be.

QUESTION: But I’m just trying to go beyond that --

MR HOOK: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- money, and specifically the notion that if you want pressure on Iran, right, don’t you need European help with that? Don’t you need to work with Europe --

MR HOOK: Yeah, we are.

QUESTION: -- to target those other things?

MR HOOK: Yes. Setting up some sort of alternative mechanism for whatever business is left over in Iran does not change that. We are still working very closely with the Europeans.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Washington Post.

QUESTION: Hey, Brian. The Secretary used this talking point that he’s used before today about the Iranians being guilty of hypocrisy because they claim to support the Palestinians, but have only spent 20,000-some on UNRWA.

MR HOOK: Correct.

QUESTION: And obviously, he’s saying this while the U.S. announces it’s going to end funding to UNRWA. So is there just a – is he losing the irony of calling out that specific allegation right now as the U.S. is withdrawing from UNRWA?

MR HOOK: We have given 100,000 times more money to UNRWA than Iran. And so we have a --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR HOOK: We have – no, I’m just saying that over – I’m saying that Iran presents itself, hypocritically, as some keeper of the flame. In fact, the money that they spend is on terrorism with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And that terrorism then finds its way into war zones which kill Muslims. And so we have given billions – if I remember correctly the number – over many, many years through UNRWA. The Iranians, they’ve given $20,000. The money that they do spend – and I believe it’s – they give $700 million a year to Lebanese Hizballah, and I want to say they give about $5-, $600-, $700 million to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups.

That’s where they spend their money. They spend it supporting terrorism. We spend it supporting the Palestinian people, and that’s just a fundamental difference in our --

QUESTION: Wait, I --

MR PALLADINO: Wait, wait, wait.

QUESTION: Well, hold on a second. I thought your argument against UNRWA was that it actually supported terrorism and that the schools – the curriculum and the schools that they run fomented anti-Israel violence and that – so --

MR HOOK: So we’re making separate points. There is – there are --

QUESTION: Well, your argument is that they support terrorism --

MR HOOK: UNRWA needs reform. UNRWA needs reform.

QUESTION: -- and you guys – you guys have stopped funding UNRWA because you say that they are bad, they need reform, they support terrorism, they support anti – they foment and assist anti-Israel violence. You can’t have it both ways, Brian.

MR HOOK: We can have it both ways.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR HOOK: What we are asking for is for UNRWA to reform. We have a history of supporting UNRWA. We would like UNRWA to implement the reforms that are necessary so that it then is able to accomplish its charter mission.

MR PALLADINO: Correct. All right, let’s go right here.

QUESTION: Here. So today when Bolton was speaking, there was quite a bit of rhetoric there, and obviously the U.S. and Iran exchanged a lot of barbs, but some of the words he was using – “there will be hell to pay,” “we’re coming after you” – what is behind those threats? Is that stopping an economic pressure, or are you trying to send a different message?

MR HOOK: No, it’s consistent with what the President said recently after there were attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Baghdad and in Basra. And the President said that we don’t make a distinction between Iran and its militias that it organizes, trains, and equips, and commands. And he has promised swift and decisive action if there is any injury to our diplomatic facilities or to our American personnel. And so I think that this is a restatement of what the President said in a recent statement after the attacks in Iraq.

QUESTION: So following up on that --

MR HOOK: Yes, of course.

QUESTION: -- in the Rouhani speech, he actually said, called out the U.S. for essentially looking for regime change or trying to go after the government. Do you not see any equivalency in that idea?

MR HOOK: An equivalency between what Ambassador Bolton said and what?

QUESTION: Well, the idea of trying to – do you believe that there is any truth to that?

MR HOOK: Truth to what?

QUESTION: To the idea that these threats seem to be aimed at changing the Iranian regime.

MR HOOK: Oh. No, no, no. No, no, no. We – the future of Iran is up to the Iranian people. Our policy is to change the behavior of the regime, and the future of Iran is up to the Iranian people. We stand with them, we support their reforms, we support their demands for a better way of life. You see the protestors saying, “Please remember us when you’re off funding everything in Syria.” The violent misadventures that Iran has engaged in around the Middle East; I think that you’re seeing an increasing overlap between what the Iranian people are asking the regime to stop doing and what we are asking the regime to stop doing.

MR PALLADINO: Right here.

QUESTION: Do you see a contradiction between the president’s comments today where he talks about, hey, you respect our sovereignty and we’ll respect yours, and then essentially demanding that Iran do exactly what the United States wants it to do?

And then second, do you believe that --

MR HOOK: Hold on, give me your first question. Give me this – let me do the first question.

On the first one, in terms of sovereignty, Iran is the last revolutionary regime on Earth. It does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors or any nation. It doesn’t recognize citizenship of other Shias who are members of other nations in the Middle East. So this is a regime that in its constitution does not respect the sovereignty of other nations, and when you look at the 12 demands that Secretary Pompeo has made as a path to a functioning, normal bilateral relationship with the United States, those 12 demands are what we would ask of any normal country.

And so I think on – as a matter of sovereignty, the Secretary’s speech today – it’s an outlaw regime – there probably isn’t any regime around today that has violated the UN Security Council more times than this regime.

QUESTION: And just to follow up --

MR HOOK: And the second question?

QUESTION: -- should Iran continue to abide by the terms of the JCPOA?

MR HOOK: We have made our decision in our national capacity to leave the Iran nuclear deal because we did – we thought it was a bad deal and it was insufficient, it was too narrow, it didn’t address the entire range of Iran’s behaviors. We are seeking a new deal, preferably a treaty – well, something that will, unlike the last agreement, endure beyond the administration, and that agreement would include nukes, missiles, terrorism, arbitrary detention of Americans.

QUESTION: But until then, should Iran abide by the JCPOA?

MR HOOK: We think Iran should have a peaceful nuclear program and end its wishes, hopes, and dreams to become a nuclear weapon state.

QUESTION: With enrichment?

MR HOOK: The Secretary has said – if you look at the first demand of the 12 it’s to end enrichment, which was a Chapter 7 UN Security Council resolution prior to the JCPOA. International law that Iran is prohibited from enriching, we need to restore that standard. One of the things that people talk about the JCPOA and it stopped – it prevented setting off an arms race in the Middle East. When you lift the prohibition on enrichment, you risk setting off an arms race in the Middle East, and so we are restoring the standard of zero enrichment, which was the right and necessary thing to do.

MR PALLADINO: Right here, second. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Rahim Rashidi from Kurdistan TV. Two simple questions. Do you have any plans to regime changing Iran? Rudy Giuliani said yes many of times. And how you can stop Iranian influence in Iraq, and especially in Iraqi Kurdistan? You know Iran strongly try to divide it, KRG.

MR HOOK: We condemn the missile attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan. Those were ballistic missiles shot from inside of Iran, violating the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan. Another example of Iran – the risk of missile proliferation as it – I mean, this is – these are missiles shot from inside of Iran at a political meeting in northern Iraq. And so when I talk about the risk that we’re accumulating, I’m talking about these sorts of things. And we really need to start getting more serious and restoring deterrence. We have to restore deterrence against Iran’s missile proliferation.

MR PALLADINO: Yes, let’s go in the back right there.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you so much. Tatiana (inaudible) from (inaudible) News Agency. I have a question regarding activities in Iran with the modernization of the research reactor in Arak and with the structuring of the Fordow facility. So the JCPOA participants, they reaffirmed that they will support this – these projects. What’s your position on that? Do you think it’s a good thing, bad thing? What’s the U.S. position?

MR HOOK: Don’t have any comment on that right now.

MR PALLADINO: Okay, way back there. Yep.

QUESTION: To follow up on Abbie’s question earlier (inaudible) that they basically singled out Qasem Soleimani and said we will use every tool available to go after Qasem Soleimani. That sounded as if Qasem Soleimani is already seen as being an actor responsible for attacks on (inaudible).

MR HOOK: Well, Iran did nothing to stop the attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Iraq. Qasem Soleimani has been organizing and training and equipping these Shia militias in Iraq for over a decade, and this is why we don’t make a distinction between Iran and its proxies. Even in something like Syria alone, you have 2,500 Iranians in Syria and they – they manage 10,000 Shiite fighters, and this is what the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps does, going back to my original point that this is a revolutionary regime. Their guard corps is revolutionary, so no surprise that we find them all over the Middle East and beyond.

So looking at Iraq with Soleimani, the IRGC is responsible for so much violence and bloodshed in the Middle East, and as part of restoring our deterrence, we will be focusing on him and his operations.

QUESTION: In a military sense? Are they using every available tool (inaudible)?

MR HOOK: I think it speaks for itself.

MR PALLADINO: Okay, so Kylie.

QUESTION: A question: Rouhani today said that the U.S. sanctions as a result of getting out of the nuclear deal are going to harm not just Iran but nations in the region. What is your reaction to that? And also, there was an Iraqi delegation in Washington last week talking about this specific thing and how to avoid being harmed by these sanctions, so can you give us any details on how those talks are going?

MR HOOK: Yeah. Instead of peddling paranoid conspiracy theories about its economy and blaming others, they just need to look in the mirror of 39 years of economic mismanagement. The longest-suffering victims of the Iranian regime are the Iranian people. President Rouhani knows that. The promises of the revolution have not been delivered.

QUESTION: And what about the Iraqis? How are you going to prevent them from being sanctioned for having energy relations with Iran?

MR HOOK: Well, our energy sanctions don’t go back into place until early November, and we’re in discussions with countries on a case-by-case basis about the reimposition of our sanctions and we’re taking these things on a country-by-country basis, but I think everybody knows that our goal is to get the import of Iranian oil as close to zero as possible.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go right here in the center. Right here, you.

QUESTION: Me?

MR PALLADINO: Yes.

QUESTION: Kim Dozier, Daily Beast.

MR PALLADINO: Good.

QUESTION: So the U.S. has blamed Iran for the attacks in Basra. Iran has blamed U.S.-backed allies and, by extension, the U.S. for the Ahvaz shooting attack. Do you think that this is something that could escalate into eventual armed conflict? You’ve talked about rising risk, and Ahvaz seems pretty dangerous.

MR HOOK: Iran has been repressing Arab minorities who live inside of Iran for a very long time. It’s been brutal and severe repression. Instead of blaming the United States and the Saudis and the Israelis, whoever they blame, it’s so predictable it’s laughable. They need to be worried more about protecting the security of their own people than blaming others.

MR PALLADINO: Let’s go, last one.

QUESTION: Harriet Alexander from The Daily Telegraph. Following on from the question about potential divisions with the EU, with European allies, are you considering the possibility of an open conflict face-to-face between President Trump and Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, tomorrow at the Security Council meeting? And if so, how damaging would that be?

MR HOOK: It’s a hypothetical that I don’t think we have to entertain. The President gets along very well with the leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and I think at all levels of government, especially in the State Department, the National Security Council, we have almost daily contact with our E3 allies.

MR PALLADINO: All right.

MR HOOK: We can do a couple more.

MR PALLADINO: Last --

QUESTION: Related to that.

MR PALLADINO: All right, Dan.

QUESTION: Just --

QUESTION: Brian.

QUESTION: -- is there some room for compromise on the SWIFT question? Because obviously there are different voices in the government. There’s concerns that maybe you actually encourage financial smuggling or illicit financial activity if you cut them off from SWIFT. Or is that kind of (inaudible)?

MR HOOK: Don’t have any comment on SWIFT today.

QUESTION: And then on the oil, are you concerned at all about the oil price possibly getting too high that you aren’t going to be able to kind of calibrate with the Saudis’ production and pricing and so on? Are you confident that --

MR HOOK: We will ensure prior to the re-imposition of our sanctions that we have a well-supplied oil market.

MR PALLADINO: You’ve been patient. Right there, please.

QUESTION: Hey. Yes, (inaudible). Hi, (inaudible). Thanks for taking my question. My question to you is, like, on 16th August when your appointment was announced, so what was the – what was the first challenge you faced to get your job done?

MR HOOK: I had to find my new office. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: And how will you categorize a peaceful nuclear program? You just said – how do you categorize it like a peaceful nuclear program?

MR HOOK: Well, we know what it looks like when a nation wants to denuclearize. We have many examples of this around the world. There’s been countries in Africa, Western – and South America, Europe. We know what a country – we know the different markers of what denuclearization looks like. Storing an atomic archive with an armed guard in the middle of Tehran does not look like you’ve given up your intent to achieve your status as a nuclear weapons state. And so I think discovering a half a ton of materials that were protected and preserved made the sunset clauses even more relevant. Iran has not earned the trust to have restrictions on its nuclear program lifted, and that was, I think, the most fundamental deficiency of the Iran nuclear deal, is it lifted restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has not earned the trust to have those lifted.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR PALLADINO: Francesco. Francesco.

QUESTION: To follow up on the question on the UN Security Council meeting tomorrow, how do you think this kind of meeting can help when you could be isolated from the other four members, permanent members of the council, at least on the sanctions question?

MR HOOK: The only differences in isolation is over us being out of the Iran nuclear deal. And so we have a very similar threat assessment. I don’t think anybody would – anybody in Europe is going to argue that Iran’s missile proliferation is something they’re unconcerned about or that Iran’s terrorism, their support for proxies, what they’re doing to destabilize Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, no one thinks the status quo is something favorable.

And so we have our differences over the Iran nuclear deal. We made a decision in our national capacity. Those who want to preserve the Iran deal have their own decisions to make. But we do not think that the Iran deal should be preserved at the expense of addressing the other range of Iran’s regional behaviors.

And so tomorrow in the UN Security Council, it’s a thematic discussion on nonproliferation, and North Korea and Iran are two very different nonproliferation priorities. We certainly – we’ve had 27 years of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, and the President now and Secretary Pompeo have been talking about our new strategy to engage North Korea. I deal with Iran. And so on the Iran piece, we cannot allow Iran to achieve what North Korea has been able to achieve. It’s very important for us to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon – this regime, that this regime never acquires a nuclear weapon.

MR PALLADINO: Last one.

MR HOOK: Okay.

MR PALLADINO: Last one.

MR HOOK: Okay, one more. Wait, last two. (Laughter.)

MR PALLADINO: Last one. Conor, in the back.

QUESTION: Sorry, just to quickly follow up on that, can you be a little bit more specific about what it is you are working with the Europeans on? (Inaudible) talk before (inaudible)?

MR HOOK: When I was in – when I was working with the E3 to address the deficiencies of the Iran nuclear deal, half of our time was spent on addressing those deficiencies. The other half of our time was spent addressing all the non-nuclear aspects, all the rest of the threat matrix that Iran presents, and that includes everything that’s in that new report we put out. It’s cyber. It’s maritime aggression. It’s terrorism. It’s illicit finance. It’s human rights abuses. It’s the arbitrary detention of foreigners. These are the things that we talk about with our European friends, but we talk about it – I just had a very good meeting with someone from the Argentina foreign ministry. They were the victims of the worst terrorism attack in Argentina’s history, perpetrated by the Iranians.

So we have discussions with a number of countries about the range of threats that Iran presents, and we don’t hear people disagreeing on the threat assessment. Now, everybody – it’s natural in diplomacy. You’re going to have differences of agreement on how we address those threats. But we start from a very strong foundation of agreement on the threat assessment.

QUESTION: So are there discussions on multilateral sanctions, for example, on ballistic missiles or something, things that there were discussions about before withdrawal?

MR HOOK: I don’t want to say anything more about – I don’t want to get into the private deliberations. I just wanted to make the sort of broader point that there is a shared – in many ways. I don’t want to overstate it. I’m just saying that when you look at the various threats to peace and – President Macron talked about the four pillars. The first pillar was JCPOA. But those other pillars involved the things that I’m talking about with you tonight. And that’s an example of the kinds of things that we’re discussing with our great friends in Paris. Okay?

MR PALLADINO: Thank you very much.

MR HOOK: Thank you very much. Okay.

MR PALLADINO: All right. Embargo is lifted. Thank you, guys.