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Iran envoy Rob Malley on leave over security clearance probe

The State Department says Abram Paley is currently serving as the acting special envoy for Iran.
Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, waits to testify about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations on Capitol Hill May 25, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, is "on leave," the State Department said Thursday, potentially complicating the administration’s diplomacy with Tehran over its nuclear program and detained Americans. 

"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," US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said in an emailed comment Thursday, without elaborating. 

Malley told Axios reporter Barak Ravid on Thursday, "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." 

Earlier Thursday, Farsi-language satellite news channel Iran International reported that Malley was "under investigation" while a deputy assumed his duties. CNN and the Washington Post reported that Malley was placed on unpaid leave Thursday afternoon amid an investigation into a possible mishandling of classified information.

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