US lawmaker asks Blinken for details on US envoy’s investigation into Iran

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WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) – A powerful Republican in the US House of Representatives asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken for details on an investigation into the US envoy’s security clearance on Iran, amid reports that he could mishandling confidential documents.

Citing media reports, Michael McCaul, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Blinken on Friday, asking why the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, was being placed on unpaid leave after the His security clearance was suspended earlier this year to investigate alleged mishandling of classified documents.

The committee had previously asked Malley to testify at an oversight hearing on the State Department’s negotiations with Iran, but said the department responded that Malley could not testify due to illness of a close relative.

“Given the gravity of the situation, it is imperative that the Department rapidly provide a full and transparent account of the circumstances surrounding Special Envoy Malley’s suspension and investigation and the Department’s statements to Congress regarding Special Envoy Malley,” he said. wrote McCaul to Blinken in a letter published on the panel’s website.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

On Thursday, Malley told Reuters: “I have been informed that my security clearance is under review. I have not been provided with any further information, but I expect the investigation to resolve favorably and soon. In the meantime, I am on leave.”

Asked to comment on McCaul’s letter, Malley said on Saturday that he supported Thursday’s statement, adding, “I’m eager to hear what the State Department’s review is about and, as I’ve made clear early on, I’m ready to cooperate fully with it.”

Appointed soon after Democratic President Joe Biden took office in 2021, Malley was tasked with trying to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Then-President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions on Tehran.

Having failed to revive the deal, the United States has held talks with Iran to try to ease tensions by outlining measures that could limit Iran’s nuclear program, release some detained U.S. citizens and free up some Iranian assets abroad, it said. Iranian and Western officials said earlier. this month.

In the letter, McCaul requested that acting special envoy for Iran Abram Paley and National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk be made available to testify and deliver confidential briefings to the Committee by end of July.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici to Washington; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Editing by William Mallard

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Valerie Volcovici

Thomson Reuters

Valerie Volcovici covers US environmental and energy policy from Washington, DC. She advises climate and environmental regulations in federal agencies and in Congress. She also covers the impact of these regulatory changes in the United States. Other areas of coverage include plastic pollution and international climate negotiations.

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