Former Obama aide Malley expected to be named Biden's envoy on Iran

US Materials 29 January 2021 08:09 (UTC +04:00)
Former Obama aide Malley expected to be named Biden's envoy on Iran

Robert Malley, a former top Iran adviser in the Obama administration, is expected to be named as U.S. President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iranian affairs, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday, Trend reports.

Malley’s appointment, which would task him with one of the new administration’s most daunting and politically divisive foreign policy challenges, could be announced as soon as Friday, one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

When Malley’s name first surfaced in news reports as a leading candidate for the post, he drew criticism from some Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel groups that expressed concern that he would be soft on Iran and tough on Israel. But a number of foreign policy veterans rushed to his defense, praising him as a respected, evenhanded diplomat.

The post would make Malley the point person in Biden’s efforts to deal with Iran after years of worsening relations under former President Donald Trump, who pulled out of a 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran and reimposed crippling economic sanctions. The Diplomatic news website was first to report on Malley’s expected appointment.

Malley was a key member of former President Barack Obama’s team that negotiated the nuclear accord with Iran and world powers, an agreement that Trump abandoned in 2018 despite strong opposition from Washington’s European allies.

He held numerous senior positions in the Democratic administrations of Obama and former President Bill Clinton with a focus on Middle East and Gulf policymaking and informally advised Biden’s team during the 2020 campaign.

Most recently, he was the president of the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization focused on global conflict.

The State Department declined comment. Malley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.