US envoy calls on world to ‘urge Iran to de-escalate’
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US envoy calls on world to ‘urge Iran to de-escalate’

In Kuwait, Brian Hook says Washington not interested in military conflict, bolstered troops ‘for purely defensive purposes’

Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran, speaks during a press conference in Kuwait City on June 23, 2019. (Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP)
Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran, speaks during a press conference in Kuwait City on June 23, 2019. (Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP)

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — The US special envoy for Iran on Sunday urged “all nations to use their diplomatic effort to urge Iran to de-escalate and meet diplomacy with diplomacy,” amid soaring tensions in the Gulf.

“We are not interested in… military conflict against Iran, we have enhanced our forces’ postures in the region for purely defensive purposes,” Brian Hook told journalists in Kuwait City.

In mid-June, the United States said it would deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, after a series of tanker attacks in the Gulf it has blamed on Iran. Tehran has denied involvement.

The US moves came as Iran set a 10-day countdown for world powers to fulfill their commitments under a nuclear deal abandoned by Washington, saying it would otherwise surpass the uranium stockpile limit mandated by the accord.

A pilot speaks to a crew member by an F/A-18 fighter jet on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea on June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

Hook said his talks in Kuwait focused “how to de-escalate tensions that in the region have been driven by Iran and we discussed how we can deepen our cooperation especially around the area of maritime security.”

“The Iranian regime is a threat to freedom of navigation and all nations of the world share an interest in the free flow of commerce and there is much work to be done together,” he said.

“We need Iran to behave more like a normal nation and less like a revolutionary cause. And if we can imagine a peaceful Iran, then we can imagine a peaceful Middle East,” he added.

On Friday in Saudi Arabia, the US envoy said Iran has no right to respond to diplomacy “with military force,” a day after Tehran shot down a US reconnaissance drone over the Strait of Hormuz — a strategic waterway for the world’s oil transits.

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