U.S.: Iranian regime ‘does not invest in its own people’

Brian Hook at lectern, with world map on screen behind (© Cliff Owen/AP Images)
Brian Hook, special representative for Iran at the State Department (© Cliff Owen/AP Images)

At a time when the Iranian people are demanding fiscal accountability, the Iranian regime has spent more than $16 billion propping up Syria’s Assad regime and supporting its other partners and proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The Iranian regime “does not invest in its own people,” U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in an interview with Alhurra television on March 15. “So we shouldn’t expect them to be supporting or helping the Iraqi people in any way.”

Hook’s comments followed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s March 11–13 visit to Iraq.

“When President Rouhani comes into Iraq promising a lot of benefits for the people, you should look to see how the Iranian people have been doing under President Rouhani. They have lost ground by every economic indicator,” Hook said in a March 16 interview with Radio Farda.

Instead of investing in the Iranian people, the government is looking to secure a “military highway” through Iraq to the western parts of the Middle East that Hook said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could use to ferry missiles, weapons and fighters across the region.

The Iranian financial system is deliberately murky because it “does not want people to know where the money goes. Because if people could see that they would see that the money is spent all around the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain in order to achieve its ambitions to dominate the Middle East,” said Hook.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has emphasized that “we care more about the Iranian people than many of Iranian leaders, the Iranian leaders have demonstrated. We want them to be successful. We want them to thrive. And to do that you can’t squander resources, money, all around the Middle East conducting terror campaigns.”