Biden Iran Envoy on Ropes After Pro-Regime Comments

Photo of Robert Malley’s credibility, the State Dept will not say what the massive protest is about

Biden administration’s Iran envoy Robert Malley/Getty Images

Adam Credo • October 25, 2022 4:30 p.m

The Biden administration’s Iran envoy Robert Malley is under increasing pressure to resign, as members of Congress and Iranian-American advocacy groups lose faith in his ability to support a growing protest movement in the Islamic Republic that threatens to topple the hardline regime.

The protests, which first erupted after the regime’s morality police killed a young woman who was improperly wearing her headscarf, have quickly turned into a referendum on the Iranian regime itself. But Malley, who has been the administration’s public face for diplomacy with Tehran, I the protesters were simply demonstrating “for their government to respect human dignity and rights”—even in the face of overwhelming evidence they were protesting to end an oppressive regime.

The Biden administration is still lifting economic sanctions on the Iranian regime as it seeks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, even as prospects for reaching a deal are slimming. These efforts also forced the government to walk a diplomatic tightrope as it offered good support to the protesters to isolate the hardline government from the negotiations. After Malley’s online gaffe, the State Department declined to comment Washington Free Beacon the question of why it assesses that the Iranian protesters are looking for regime change, even though those protesters chant “Death to the Dictator” and explain that they want the theocratic government to be demolished.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a leading congressional critic of the new Iran deal, told Free beacon that “the Biden administration is literally investing in the survival of the Iranian regime because the administration wants Iranian oil to make up for the disaster they created by attacking American energy producers. the people of Iran for regime change.”

“Robert Malley will go down in the history books as the most ineffective and feckless State Department official of the last 50 years. It’s time for him to return,” Bryan Leib, executive director of Iranian Americans for Liberty, a grassroots group that supports democracy. , said that Free lantern. “His latest gaffe on Twitter is just another example of how he has been with the government of the United States and the Islamic Republic and not with the freedom-seeking Iranian people. His false apology is not accepted and he should be terminated immediately.”

Leib’s comments were echoed by many on Twitter, who accused Malley 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 Malley’s tweet.

“Respect?” asked popular Iranian commentator Saman Arabi. “Iran [people] literally asking for regime change!”

Although Malley later apologized for the tweet, saying it was “a lack of words,” congressional sources and other foreign policy insiders said the damage had been done and that Malley’s credibility with Iran’s reformers was damaged.

“As long as Malley is the special envoy, you know the administration’s policy has been to offer 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 is now a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “If he leaves, it will be the first signal to shift his policy away from accommodating the regime and helping the Iranian people.”

The State Department’s official position on the protest movement is also muddled. Spokesman Ned Price would not say during the department’s daily briefing on Monday if the administration believed the protesters wanted regime change, although he was presented with clear evidence that this was the case.

“It’s not for us to interpret what the Iranian people are asking,” Price said. “We’ll never plan to reflect what they’re looking for.”

Some journalists were left confused by this response, with one saying, “Ned, I think the point is, though, that you don’t have to interpret what they say. What do you see that they are calling for? Do you think they are calling for something less than regime change ?”

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

The reporter, Matthew Lee from the Associated Press, continued his question: “Well, let’s say that if I walk down the street with a sign that says oranges are bad, okay-oranges, fruit, oranges are bad; it should be prohibited-what do you say the message me?”

“I’m a spokesperson for the US State Department. I’m not an orange spokesperson,” Price said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied a Free beacon asked for comment on the administration’s assessment of what the Iranian protesters are demanding.



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