President Joe Biden has named Robert Malley as special US envoy for Iran, Reuters news agency reported, citing a senior official.
The official said on Thursday that the veteran diplomat was given a “leading role in one of most daunting and politically divisive foreign policy challenges facing the new administration.”
Malley was a key member of former President Barack Obama’s team that negotiated the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and world powers, an agreement that former president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 despite strong opposition from Washington’s European allies.
“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,” Reuters quoted the State Department official as saying.
“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.
When Malley’s name first surfaced in news reports as a leading candidate for the post, he drew criticism from some Republican lawmakers and pro-Israeli groups. But a number of foreign policy veterans rushed to his defense, praising him as a “respected, even-handed diplomat,” according to the agency.