Biden’s Iran envoy benched amid investigation, security clearance suspended: reports

Rob Malley, a US special envoy for Iran, was placed on leave due to a security clearance suspension earlier this year that resulted in an investigation.

A US official told CNN on Thursday his clearance was suspended after the State Department conducted an investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents. While Malley remained at his post amid the investigation, he was not granted access to classified information, the official added.

State Department spokesman Matt Miller confirmed Malley was on the bench, adding that Abram Paley would serve as the United States’ acting special envoy to Iran, according to CNN.

“Rob Malley is on leave and Abram Paley is acting special envoy for Iran and leading the Department’s work in this area,” Miller told the outlet.

Malley, who was appointed to his post two years ago, confirmed that his security clearance was being reviewed, noting in a statement that he expects the investigation to be “favourably and expeditiously resolved. “.

“I have been informed that my security clearance is under review. I have not received any further information, but I hope that the investigation will be resolved favorably and quickly. In the meantime, I am on leave,” a Malley told CNN.

The move comes as Malley, who has played a leading role in efforts to secure the release of Americans detained in Iran, has remained shut out of ongoing Iran nuclear deal talks.

The Hill contacted the State Department for additional comment.

Last year, department officials said reviving the nuclear deal with Iran, which was canceled under former President Trump in 2018, was not their primary goal. It came as protests between Iranian authorities and residents escalated following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police, CNN reported.

Republican lawmakers recently warned the Biden administration against pursuing a deal with Iran that would grant sanctions relief without congressional approval.

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