Jun 29, 2023 - World

U.S. special envoy for Iran Rob Malley on leave, says security clearance "under review"

Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran,

Robert Malley, the Biden administration's special envoy for Iran. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

U.S. envoy for Iran Rob Malley told Axios on Thursday he went on leave several weeks ago because of an investigation that has affected his security clearance.

Why it matters: Malley was a key player in the Biden administration's efforts to try and return to the 2015 nuclear deal and in crafting the administration’s Iran policy.

Driving the news: The State Department first acknowledged that Malley was on leave in May when he didn't participate in a classified Senate briefing on Iran. The State Department didn't give the reasons, but said at the time that Malley was "still very much engaged on this issue."

  • Malley told Axios Thursday that he has "been informed that my security clearance is under review. I have not been provided any further information, but I expect the investigation to be resolved favorably and soon. In the meantime, I am on leave."
  • State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told Axios that "Rob Malley is on leave and Abram Paley is serving as acting Special Envoy and leading the department’s work in this area."
  • The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  • CNN reported that Malley’s clearance was suspended amid a State Department diplomatic security investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information.
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