A former senior US administration familiar with events leading up to Hook’s departure said he was “being asked to leave to take the fall for the failed Iran strategy.”

Iran PressAmerica: "Iran is breaking the limits on enrichment, storage, and developing a delivery system. By all empirical data, it is worse than under the [agreement] and they significantly increased their bad actions," the former official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly.

"If you thought it was a successful strategy, I don’t know why you’d fire the envoy," he added.

Brian Hook, the State Department’s point man on Iran policy, is stepping down on the eve of an administration effort to persuade an unwilling UN Security Council to extend the expiring conventional weapons ban on Tehran, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

In a statement announcing his departure, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as Hook’s decision and did not offer a reason. "Following a transition period," Pompeo said, the Iran portfolio would be taken over by Elliot Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, who would hold both jobs.

Pompeo said at a Wednesday news briefing that the United States would propose a UN resolution next week to continue restrictions on Iran’s ability to buy or sell weapons. Russia and China are both expected to veto any resolution. 

Under the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), negotiated and signed with the Obama administration, those 13-year-old global sanctions are to be lifted in mid-October.

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