Former Obama aide Malley to be named Biden’s envoy on Iran | US & Canada Information
Robert Malley is tasked with finding a way to deal with Iran again after Trump escalated tensions.
The Biden administration is expected to appoint Robert Malley, a former senior foreign policy advisor to then-President Barack Obama, as the special envoy on Iran, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
Malley’s appointment by President Joe Biden could be announced as early as Thursday or Friday, one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
When Malley’s name first appeared on news reports as the leading candidate for the post, he was criticized by some Republican lawmakers and pro-Israeli groups for expressing concern that he would be soft on Iran and harsh on Israel. But a number of foreign policy veterans rushed to his defense.
The post will put Malley at the helm of one of Biden’s greatest foreign policy challenges: finding a way to deal with Iran after years of deteriorating relations under former President Donald Trump. The diplomatic news website first reported on Malley’s expected appointment.
Malley served under Obama and was a key part of the team that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the world powers, an agreement that resulted in Trump in 2018.
He has held numerous senior positions for the Democratic administrations of Obama and former President Bill Clinton, with an emphasis on policy-making in the Middle East and the Gulf.
Most recently, he was President of the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization that focuses on global conflict.
Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian nuclear pact when his administration pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran. Since then, Iran has started enriching uranium faster, which is closer to making a nuclear weapon.
The new foreign minister, Antony Blinken, said the Biden government would seek a renewal of the nuclear deal with a “longer and stronger deal” than the UN-backed deal with Iran.
Blinken also said the new government wanted to end the war in Yemen.
US Republicans in Congress oppose the restoration of the diplomacy Biden wants with Iran, which will add to the complications Malley would have to overcome.
Relations between the US and Iran have been extraordinarily tense since the US assassination attempt on Trump’s orders by Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.