Biden taps veteran envoy to talk to Iran, defying hawks

Biden taps veteran envoy to talk to Iran, defying hawks


Washington: The new US government has appointed Rob Malley, the architect who reached a nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, as a special envoy to resume talks with Tehran to resist pressure from the hawks, who accused him of being too reconciled with the Islamic Republic.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken “is building a dedicated team, drawing from clear-eyed experts with a diversity of views,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“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,” he said.

Malley, a childhood friend of Blinken, has been serving as head of the International Crisis Group, an independent non-governmental organization focused on conflict resolution.

Prior to this, he was one of the main negotiators of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, under which Tehran was promised to provide financial assistance for the main restrictions in the disputed nuclear program.

President Barack Obama made the deal when he was the second president.

But in 2018, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the agreement, saying that it should also cover Iran’s “destabilizing” activities in the Middle East and imposing severe sanctions on Tehran.

This week, Blinken confirmed the new US administration s intention to rejoin the accord — but only once Tehran returns to compliance.

Iran had pulled back from its commitments to protest Trump s sanctions and insists that Biden now act first.

The International Crisis Group, in a set of recommendations to Biden before Malley was appointed, recommended that the United States and Iran adopt a staggered approach with the new administration committing to withdraw sanctions and Iran agreeing to a timetable for compliance.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jack Sullivan, noted on Friday that Iran’s nuclear work under Trump is increasing, and said that diplomatic re-establishment of restraint is a “critical early priority for Biden. “.

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