Biden Iran Envoy on Ropes After Pro-Regime Comments

Robert Malley’s credibility, the State Department won’t say what the massive protests are

Biden Administration Iran Representative Robert Malley/Getty Images

Adam Kredo • October 25, 2022 at 4:30 pm

As the Biden administration loses confidence in Iran Representative Robert Malley’s ability to support a growing protest movement in the Islamic Republic that threatens to topple the hardline regime, members of Congress and Iranian-American advocacy groups have come under increasing pressure to resign from his post.

The protests, which first erupted after the killing of a young woman by the regime’s morality police for not wearing a proper headscarf, have quickly escalated into a referendum on Iran’s governance. But Malli, the public face of the administration in diplomatic affairs with Tehran, Claimed Protesters are simply demonstrating “for their government to respect their dignity and human rights”–even in the face of mounting evidence they are protesting an end to the oppressive regime.

While trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the Biden administration is still lifting economic sanctions on the Iranian regime, even as prospects for a deal are increasingly slim. These efforts have forced the administration to walk a diplomatic tightrope as it offers tepid support to protesters to avoid isolating the hardline government from negotiations. After Malley’s online prank, the State Department declined to respond Washington Freedom Beacon It questions whether it assesses that Iranian protesters are seeking regime change, with those protesters chanting “death to the dictator” and explaining that they want to dismantle the theocratic government.

said Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a leading congressional critic of a new Iran deal. Free Beacon “The Biden administration is literally invested in the survival of the Iranian regime because the administration wants to make up for the disaster they’ve created by attacking American energy producers with Iranian oil. That’s why they can’t support calls from the people of Iran for regime change.”

“Robert Malley will go down in the history books as the most incompetent and shameless State Department official of the last 50 years. It’s time for him to go,” said Brian Leib, executive director of Iranian Americans at Liberty, a grassroots pro-democracy group. Free Beacon. “His latest tweet is just another example of how he has aligned the US government with the freedom-seeking Iranian people, not with the Islamic Republic. His bogus apology is unacceptable and he should be fired immediately.”

Leib’s comments were echoed by many on Twitter, who accused Malli of obfuscating the issue.

“It’s a revolution,” Alireza Nader, an Iran expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, replied to Malli’s tweet.

“Respect?” asked Iran’s popular commentator Zaman Arabi. “Iran [people] Literally calling for regime change!”

Although Malli later apologized for his tweet, saying it was “weakly worded,” congressional sources and other foreign policy insiders say the damage has been done and Malli’s credibility with Iranian reformers has been eroded.

“As long as Maley is the special envoy, you know the administration’s policy is to give sanctions relief to the regime in Tehran,” he said. Richard Goldberg, a former White House National Security Council official who worked on Iran issues and now serves as a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “If he leaves, it will be the first signal of a change in policy to help the regime and the Iranian people.”

The State Department’s formal position on the protest movement is also confusing. Spokesman Ned Price would not say if the administration assesses that the protesters want a change in governance, though he presented clear evidence of that at the department’s daily briefing on Monday.

“It’s not for us to interpret what the people of Iran are asking for,” Price said. “We never intend to characterize what they’re looking for.”

The response left several reporters confused, with one commenting, “Ned, I think the point is, you don’t have to interpret what they’re saying. What are they asking for? Do you think they’re asking for anything less than regime change?” something?”

“I’m not going to speak for the Iranian people,” Price replied.

Matthew Lee, a reporter for the Associated Press, continued his questioning: “Well, if I walk down the street with a sign that says oranges are bad, ok-oranges, fruit, oranges are bad, let’s say they should be. No – my message, you say. what?”

“I’m the spokesperson for the US State Department. I’m not the spokesperson for the Oranges,” Price responded.

A State Department spokesman denied that Free Beacon Request for comment on the administration’s assessment of what the Iranian protesters are demanding.



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