The initiative for this unit came from CIA director John Brennan, who left his post as the Trump administration came into office. Brennan believed that the CIA needed to focus attention on what the United States sees as problem areas — North Korea and Iran, for instance. This predated the Trump administration.
Brennan's successor — Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director for just over a year (until he was appointed U.S. Secretary of State) — continued this policy. The CIA's Iran-related activity had been conducted in the Iran Operations Division (Persia House). This was a section with Iran specialists who built up knowledge about political and economic developments inside Iran and in the Iranian diaspora.