The Biden administration's former special envoy to Iran, Rob Malley, is facing scrutiny for his permissive stance toward the Tehran regime after it aided Hamas and Hezbollah in carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. Malley, who was placed on unpaid leave in June for allegedly mishandling classified material, has come under fire for his handling of Iran and its proxies.
Critics, including Republican representatives and former State Department officials, are voicing concerns over Malley's approach to Iran. They claim that he created an environment that allowed for the funneling of billions of dollars to Iran through a lack of sanctions enforcement and provision of sanctions relief. This, they argue, has contributed to Iran's support of terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Moreover, they point out that the Biden administration's approach to Iran has resulted in a deterrence failure. Under the Trump administration, the US did not distinguish between the Iranian regime and its proxies when responding to attacks on American forces. However, under Biden, only four operations have been undertaken to respond to 83 attacks carried out by Iran-backed terror groups. This, critics say, has emboldened Iran and its proxies, leading to the recent violence and hostage-taking in Israel.
Malley's past comments in support of Hamas and Hezbollah have also resurfaced, stirring further controversy. In a 2008 interview, he stated that "it's a mistake to only think of them in terms of their terrorist violence dimension" and that they have a "charity organization, a social branch." These remarks have been widely criticized by defense hawks and former government officials, who argue that they show a lack of understanding of the true nature of these organizations.
Senator Ted Cruz's national security adviser, Omri Ceren, also highlighted Malley's past ties to Hamas, claiming that he was dropped from Obama's first presidential campaign in 2008 due to his entanglement with the terrorist group. Ceren argues that Malley's approach to Iran has allowed the country to get within reach of nuclear weapons and receive hundreds of billions of dollars in funding.
Amid the ongoing violence in Israel, the White House has stated that it has not seen evidence linking Iran to the recent attacks. However, critics argue that the Biden administration is behaving as Iran's lawyer, instead of making it clear that the regime and its proxies are responsible for the violence and hostage-taking.
The future of Malley's involvement in the Biden administration remains uncertain, as the FBI continues to investigate the allegations against him. However, both Republicans and former State Department officials are calling for extensive scrutiny of his actions, particularly his permissive stance toward Iran. They argue that Malley and his team's policies have contributed to the recent violence and hostage-taking in Israel and are calling for a more assertive approach to dealing with Iran and its proxies.