Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Malley (L) in negotiations with the Iranians in Vienna in 2015. Photo: Siamek Ebrahimi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken has asked newly appointed Iran envoy Rob Malley to form a negotiating team made up of diplomats and experts with a range of views on the path forward with Iran, U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Those instructions indicate the Biden administration is attempting to avoid groupthink when drafting its policies on Iran, while also signaling to critics that a diversity of views will be taken into consideration.

Blinken even asked Malley to bring in people who are “more hawkish” on Iran, according to a source close to the administration.

  • Malley is only beginning to form his new team. Once it's in place, he'll start to develop a strategy for re-engagement with Iran.
  • Malley is in touch with his European counterparts as well as officials from Israel and the Gulf countries, the U.S. officials say.
  • Between the lines: Israeli and Gulf officials have told me they're concerned that Malley is too soft on Iran.

What they're saying: "Secretary Blinken is building a dedicated team, drawing from clear-eyed experts with a diversity of views," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told me.

  • "Leading that team as our special envoy for Iran is Rob Malley, who brings to the position a track record of success negotiating constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. The secretary is confident he and his team will be able to do that once again."

Between the lines: Malley helped negotiate the 2015 deal and has been a prominent advocate of both the U.S. and Iran returning to the original agreement before negotiating a broader deal.

  • He told Axios last month that both sides had incentives to complete that "compliance for compliance" process before Iran's presidential elections in June.

The state of play: The Biden administration and the Iranian government both support that framework in principle.

  • The main divergence has to do with sequencing: The U.S. is offering sanctions relief after Iran returns to compliance, but Iran has insisted the U.S. lift sanctions first.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hinted at a middle path on CNN on Monday, proposing a mechanism to “synchronize or coordinate” steps by both sides.
  • Price reiterated Biden's commitment to return to compliance if Iran does first and then use the 2015 deal as a platform to build a longer and stronger agreement that also addresses other areas of concern.
  • But, he cautioned, "we are a long way from that point as Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts and there are many steps in the process that we will need to evaluate. We will coordinate closely with our allies and partners, as well as with Congress," Price said.

What to watch: Iran has continued to take new steps in violation of the deal in recent days, including operating advanced IR-2M centrifuges at its Natanz facility and installing new IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear site.

  • Malley told Axios last month that certain steps would increase the pressure on Biden to make a deal, but "there comes a point at which more pressure might mean that the Biden administration will change course as well.”

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.