Biden’s Iran envoy on leave says his ‘security clearance will be checked’


FILE: Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran, waits to testify during a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) May 25, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.


Washington – Rob Malley, the US special envoy to Iran, has been placed on leave while his security clearance is reviewed.

“I have been informed that my security clearance will be reviewed. No further information was provided to me, but I expect the investigation to be positive and to be concluded soon,” Malley said in a statement to CBS News. “In the meantime, I’m on leave.”

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller confirmed Malley was on furlough, telling reporters Thursday, “Abram Paley is serving as acting special envoy on Iran and directs the department’s work in this area.”

In the administration of President Barack Obama, Malley was involved in everything from negotiating the Iran nuclear deal to fighting the Islamic State. Under the Nuclear deal 2015, Iran curtailed its nuclear program in a bid to ease sanctions. After President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, Malley played a central role in trying to revive it under President Joe Biden.

Malley’s absence coincides with several reports in recent weeks that the US has resumed indirect talks with Iran over the nuclear and prisoner issues. Brett McGurk, the National Security Council’s Middle East coordinator, also recently played a role.

Speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations this week, Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken said there was “no deal in sight” and that any reports of a deal were misleading.

Malley was also involved in negotiations to secure the release of Americans who the US said were unjustly detained in Iran.

This is an evolving story and will be updated.

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