Barak Ravid (Channel 13 News) speaks with Brian Hook
Barak Ravid (Channel 13 News) speaks with Brian HookCourtesy

U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Brian Hook spoke to Channel 13 News' Barak Ravid after Hook's meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said regarding Iranian nukes that the military option is still on the table.

Hook arrived in Jerusalem for a series of flash meetings with the Prime Minister and Alt Prime Minister. Beforehand, Netanyahu told reporters "We have serious issues to discuss, so serious, they cannot even wait for COVID-19." Hook arrived in Israel one week after the mysterious explosion east of Tehran rocked the Parchin military complex where nuclear research and development is said to take place and missiles are manufactured. The Iranians called that incident a "gas explosion".

"We don't have any observations to make on that," Hook said. "We know that during the Iran nuclear deal, Iran increased its ballistic missile testing, so this is very concerning."

Hook arrives after a round of shuttle diplomacy between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain as part of efforts he has led for the past three years to consolidate a secret coalition between these states and Israel against Iran.

"One nice thing I'll say about Iran's foreign policy is that is has helped to bring together the Arabs and the Israelis... When you see the Arabs and Israelis agree so strongly on something, I think people need to listen carefully."

Hook sidestepped questions about Israeli sovereignty declarations, repeating that any such moves would be subject to an Israeli decision alone.

As the main architect of the Trump Administration policy of maximum pressure on the Iranian regime, Hook's main effort in recent days has been to prevent lifting the weapons embargo from Iran that is due to expire this October. "When you play by Iran's rules, Iran wins," said Hook. "So we are making the national security case for extending the arms embargo that has been in place for thirteen years. Practically, you're going to need the five permanent members of the Security Council either vote in favor or abstain." Asked about Russia and China, Hook answered, "I'm hopeful, because Russia and China would like to see a peaceful and stable Middle East."

If the effort fails, the Trump Administration plans to reactivate a clause in the nuclear agreement from which the U.S. withdrew that would automatically reinstate UN Security Council sanctions on Iran: "There are seven countries that are listed in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that have the right to initiate snap-back, and that is a right that exists independently of whether one is in or out of the deal. There are preferences to just simply extend the arms embargo."

Ravid: After the U.S. withdrew, Iran shorted the break-out time needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Did the U.S. err?

Hook: "We don't think we made a mistake, and leaving the deal was the right thing to do. The question we ask on behalf of the American people is: 'What is the best means to prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon? And the answer is not the JCPOA. We've made very clear, the President has, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon, and the military option is always on the table. I think the Israeli people and the American people and the international community should know that President Trump will never allow them to have a nuclear weapon."