President Joe Biden has named Robert Malley as special U.S. envoy for Iran, a senior official said on Thursday, in a move critics say is likely to be warmly applauded by the Islamic Republic’s rulers.
Under former President Barack Obama, Malley, then a national security official, was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the Iran deal, an agreement former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 after describing it as “defective at its core.”
The former Clinton staffer was also initially kicked off of Obama’s first presidential campaign after reports emerged he had met with members of the Hamas terror group, as Breitbart News reported.
Now he has returned thanks to the Biden adminsitrations desire to engage with Tehran under the strategic template set down by Obama.
“Secretary Blinken is building a dedicated team, drawing from clear-eyed experts with a diversity of views. Leading that team as our Special Envoy for Iran will be Rob Malley, who brings to the position a track record of success negotiating constraints on Iran’s nuclear program,” the State Department official said, as reported by Reuters.
“The Secretary is confident he and his team will be able to do that once again,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, referring to Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) previously tweeted any such appointment would be “deeply troubling” considering Malley’s long record of “sympathy for the Iranian regime & animus towards Israel.”
“The ayatollahs wouldn’t believe their luck if he is selected,” he said.
It’s deeply troubling that President Biden would consider appointing Rob Malley to direct Iran policy. Malley has a long track record of sympathy for the Iranian regime & animus towards Israel. The ayatollahs wouldn’t believe their luck if he is selected. https://t.co/caxHhiXjKn
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 22, 2021
Editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Service, Jonathan Tobin, similarly notes Malley’s sordid history of “justifying appeasement of terrorists” including late PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to Malley’s “long, alarming record of anti-Israel hostility and appeasement of Iran, Hamas, the PLO, Yasser Arafat, [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, and Syria,” and urged President Joe Biden to nix the “awful” appointment.
Malley has previously called on Israel to include Hamas terrorist leaders in any negotiations on a final status resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while urging the international community to provide financial assistance to a Palestinian government that included the terror group.
He has 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, Malley was the president of the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization focused on global conflict.
Malley, the son of an Egyptian journalist and Iran expert, was an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign but resigned after it emerged he had met with representatives of Hamas terrorists.