By: Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal
In light of Hamas‘ terrorist attack on Israel, House Republicans are stepping up their investigation into the Biden administration’s use of officials who have sympathetic ties to Iran’s Islamist regime.
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Wednesday sought documents, other information, and a briefing from the State Department about nuclear negotiations with Iran. Of particular interest: Robert Malley, President Joe Biden’s special envoy to Iran, who is under FBI investigation for possible improper ties with the Iranian government.
“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating the Biden administration’s efforts to conceal details about its ongoing secret nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran from Congress, ignoring statutory obligations for congressional oversight,” says a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed by committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., chairman of the subcommittee on national security, the border, and foreign affairs.
The letter notes a Wall Street Journal report about Iran’s direct role in helping to plan Hamas’ surprise attack Saturday on Israel. During a White House press briefing Tuesday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the Biden administration hadn’t confirmed whether Iran had a direct role in the attack.
“The administration’s lack of transparency is even more troubling in light of press reports about Iran’s direct role in this weekend’s horrific attack on Israel by Hamas and additional revelations that former Special Envoy for Iran (SEI) Robert Malley and members of his negotiating team may have had compromising ties to the Iranian regime,” the two House Republicans’ letter to Blinken continues.
The letter contends that, while Malley was the Biden administration’s top negotiator with Iran, the United States recently made concessions to the Islamist regime that potentially violated the Iranian Nuclear Review Act.
Malley, who is suspended without pay, is under investigation for alleged mishandling of classified material.
“According to recent media reports, a former member of Mr. Malley’s Iran negotiating team, Ariane Tabatabai, was in close contact with the Iranian regime for years,” Comer and Grothman write to Blinken.
“Ms. Tabatabai participated in the regime-backed Iran Experts Initiative (IEI), which was launched by senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials in the spring of 2014. The alleged purpose of the initiative was to cultivate a network of European and U.S. researchers that could be used to bolster Iran’s image on global security matters, especially its nuclear program,” their letter says.
“Its members reportedly worked very closely with the Iranian regime toward this end. Incredibly, despite her previous contact with Iranian regime officials through this unofficial regime-backed network, including consulting with them regarding her potential travel, Ms. Tabatabai is now a high-level staffer within the Department of Defense where she continues to hold a security clearance.”
The State Department responded late Wednesday evening to an inquiry from The Daily Signal.
“Rob Malley remains on leave. We have no further comment due to privacy considerations. The department does not comment on individual security clearances,” a State Department spokesperson told The Daily Signal in an email statement. “We have always acted in accordance with the requirements of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA) and will continue to do so. Any notion to the contrary is false.”
This story was updated to include a statement by a State Department spokesperson.