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Biden diplomat turned Ivy league scholar faces fire for ties to Iran

Ongoing federal investigations are not stopping this scholar

A diplomat for President Joe Biden continues to hold two appointments at Ivy League universities despite an ongoing FBI investigation and new criticism being raised about his interactions with Iranian officials.

Robert Malley took two teaching jobs this semester, one at Princeton University and one at Yale University. He had the availability to work at these universities because he is currently on leave from his job as an envoy to Iran pending an FBI investigation and a suspension of his security clearance.

Additional information has come out about his interactions with Iranian officials since his initial appointment in August.

One letter from Republican leaders on both the Senate and House foreign relations committees asked for the State Department to investigate Malley’s role in hiring two individuals with ties to Iran and its subversive influence operation the “Iran Experts Initiative.”

The initiative worked to project a positive image of Iran at the same time President Barack Obama was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. Malley (pictured) served as the key negotiator on that deal.

“A third was hired by the think tank Malley ran just as he left for the State Department,” Semafor reported, based on emails it obtained.

It came after another statement from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul who criticized Malley and the State Department in September.

“Many of those involved also had close ties to Robert Malley, Special Envoy for Iran, who is under investigation for mishandling classified information and currently on leave from the State Department without pay,” Congressman McCaul wrote, following Semafor‘s report. “In February 2021, Mr. Malley allegedly recruited one of those identified in the reports, Ariane Tabatabai, to join the State Department to assist him in his negotiations with Iran.”

The College Fix has reached out four times in the past several weeks to Malley and his two employers for comment, but none have responded.

The Fix emailed Karen Peart, interim vice president of communications at Yale, the media relations team at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs, and Malley’s Princeton email. None responded to questions about the allegations and for an update into the investigations.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability also criticized Malley for allegations he “had compromising ties to the Iranian regime” and asked for further information from the Biden administration.

“Incredibly, despite her previous contact with Iranian regime officials through this unofficial regime-backed network, including consulting with them regarding her potential travel, Ms. [Ariane] Tabatabai is now a high-level staffer within the Department of Defense where she continues to hold a security clearance,” committee leadership stated in their early October letter.

Yale and Princeton have violated ‘student trust’ academic group says

Malley’s appointments by Princeton and Yale are a “misuse of student trust,” according to Chance Layton, the communications director for the National Association of Scholars.

He said even if Malley is exonerated during the investigation, his “time required to fulfill requests from the various investigations and perhaps defend himself will keep him from serving these institutions and is a misuse of the trust students and parents place in the institution to properly use their hard-earned tuition payments.”

Layton said “if the allegations against Malley are true,” then the universities are compromising the education of their students.

MORE: Failed Democratic candidates get hired at UChicago

IMAGE: VOA Persian/Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Aidan Mays is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying English with a writing focus, while also studying Greek and tutoring at the Writing Center. He is enrolled in the Honors program and is an active member of Sigma Tau Delta and the Treasurer for his local chapter.  He is a Krav Maga and Muay Thai practitioner.