Javid Qorbanoghli, a former Iran diplomat, told the reformist Entekhab website in Tehran that U.S. envoy Robert Malley was sympathetic towards the regime’s wishes and could have helped in resolving the nuclear issue. Regarding Malley’s work with the nuclear negotiations, Qorbanoghli said that he “was on our side.”
Qorbanoghli claimed that progress had been made during secret meetings between Malley and Iran’s U.N. ambassador Saeed Iravani in New York. However, the former diplomat alleged in the article that Israel played a role in separating Malley from the nuclear negotiations.
Critics in the U.S. and Israel have expressed concerns about Malley’s appointment by President Joe Biden in early 2021, citing his perceived sympathy towards the Islamic Republic and his involvement in the 2015 JCPOA agreement, which some believed favored Iran over the U.S.
The State Dept. confirmed that Malley was placed on unpaid leave in May for his alleged mishandling of classified information.
Information about Malley’s suspension was not shared with Congress by the State Department until Thursday. In response, several lawmakers expressed objections to the lack of transparency displayed by the administration.
Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the White House requesting further information regarding Malley’s status.