By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk
(Reuters) -U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Thursday his security clearance is under review, saying that he expects the investigation to end “favorably and soon” and in the meantime he was on leave.
“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,” Malley told Reuters, confirming an earlier Axios report.
“In the meantime, I am on leave,” he added.
Earlier, State Department spokesman Matt Miller said Malley was on leave but did not say why or for how long, saying Abram Paley was filling in on an acting basis.
CNN reported Malley was placed on leave without pay on Thursday, which occurred after his security clearance was suspended earlier this year amid an investigation into his handling of classified material.
Neither the State Department nor Malley immediately responded to requests for comment on the CNN story.
Appointed soon after U.S. President Joe Biden took office in 2021, Malley had the task of trying to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after then-President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to abandon the pact and reimpose U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
He helped craft the 2015 nuclear deal and, earlier in his career, was deeply engaged in former President Bill Clinton’s failed 2000 effort to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran curbed its nuclear program to make it harder for it to obtain the fissile material for a nuclear weapon in return for broad sanctions relief. Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons.
Having failed to revive the deal, the United States has held talks with Iran to try to ease tensions by sketching out steps that could limit the Iranian nuclear program, release some detained U.S. citizens and unfreeze some Iranian assets abroad, Iranian and Western officials said earlier this month.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istambul and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minn.; Editing by Leslie Adler, Sandra Maler and Cynthia Osterman)
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