WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. State Department official said Washington is aiming to do as much as possible to shut off Iran's oil export revenues.
In comments to reporters on July 2, Brian Hook, the department's director of policy planning, repeated past statements that the United States was not looking to topple the Iranian government.
Rather, he insisted, the goal is to change government policies, such as financing terror groups like Hizballah in Lebanon and fueling other violence conflicts in the Middle East.
"Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue on crude oil sales," Hook said.
A member of the oil cartel OPEC, Tehran is hugely reliant on oil exports for crucial hard currency to help modernize a creaky economy.
Hook's remarks came as the U.S. administration moves to ratchet up pressure on Tehran. Two months ago, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programs.
The U.S. decision set up the possibility of new sanctions, which have little support in Europe.