New US envoy 'spoke with Europeans on Iran deal'

New US envoy spoke with Europeans about rejoining Iran nuclear deal: source
2 min read
30 January, 2021
According to sources, Malley met with the British, French and German foreign ministry officials.
Malley has a long diplomatic history in the Middle East [Getty]
Rob Malley, US President Joe Biden’s newly appointed US Iran envoy, allegedly spoke with British, French, and German officials on Thursday on how to re-instate a nuclear deal with Tehran, two sources cited by Reuters said on Friday.

"It was to take stock of the dossier and to assess what our state of mind is," a European diplomatic source said to the news agency. 

A second source confirmed that Malley met with the British, French and German foreign ministry political directors, but no specific details on the content of their conversation was given.

Malley has a long diplomatic history in the Middle East, serving in senior roles related to the region for both the Clinton and Obama administrations. He served informally as an adviser for the Biden 2020 campaign team.

He was an architect of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and was chosen by the new US administration as its special envoy to resume talks with Tehran, defying pressure from hawks who accuse him of being too conciliatory toward the Islamic republic.

The deal was reached under Barack Obama, when President Joe Biden was his number two.

But in 2018, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the accord, saying it should have also covered Iran's "destabilising" activities in the Middle East, and slapped tough sanctions on Tehran. 

Read more: Why all the mudslinging against Iran envoy Robert Malley?

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security advisor, on Friday pointed to Iran's growing nuclear work under Trump and said that re-establishing constraints through diplomacy was a "critical early priority" for Biden.

Before he was even named to the Iran post, rumors of Malley's nomination prompted sharp criticism from allies of the defeated president.

"It's deeply troubling that President Biden would consider appointing Rob Malley to direct Iran policy," Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted last week.

"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," said Cotton, a Trump ally who has advocated bombing Iran.

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