WASHINGTON (JTA) — Elliott Abrams, a longtime foreign policy hawk, is adding Iran to Venezuela in his portfolio of countries whose governments the Trump administration wants to be neutralized.
Axios on Thursday reported that Abrams would replace Brian Hook, who is stepping down from the Iran job.
Abrams, who since last year has been leading efforts to isolate the Maduro regime in Venezuela, has served multiple Republican presidents. He was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan presidency, which used money from weapons illicitly sold to Iran to illicitly fund right-wing insurgents in Central America.
The Trump administration quit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2015 in hopes of extracting a better deal from Iran through economic and diplomatic pressure. Hook has been leading that enterprise.
Abrams was a trenchant critic of the Obama administration’s Iran policies, including the 2015 sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal.