The US special envoy to Iran, nominated two years ago by President Joe Biden, has been placed on leave without pay after his security clearance was suspended earlier this year.
Rob Malley has been under investigation since at least earlier this year, but possibly longer, for his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“Rob Malley is on leave and Abram Paley is serving as acting Special Envoy for Iran and leading the Department’s work in this area,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller confirmed to CNN.
A US official said Malley’s security clearance was suspended within the last two months as part of a State Department diplomatic security investigation which identified an issue with his clearance that it has not disclosed at this time.
On Thursday afternoon, he was placed on unpaid leave as a result of the ongoing investigation.
“I have 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,” Malley said.
Even though it has been months since his clearance was originally suspended, Malley had been allowed to quietly remain on the job until now.
Malley Worked on Nuclear Negotiations
Malley was appointed roughly one week after Biden took office in 2021. He immediately began working to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which former President Trump notoriously pulled back from during his term.
Malley’s efforts did not produce any breakthroughs and the administration largely abandoned negotiations when Iranian protests broke out over civil rights.
Most recently, he has been working to secure the release of Americans wrongfully detained in Iran.
Malley has been involved in Iran across multiple administrations, including Obama and Clinton. Under former President Barack Obama, he was part of the diplomatic team that crafted the original nuclear deal.
He has been criticized for being too sympathetic toward Iran during his work.