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Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran

November 30, 2022  |  On Demand

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The Biden administration came into office promising to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. Almost two years later, momentum has dissipated, and the deal has all but been derailed. Meanwhile Iran’s new hard-line leadership is actively aiding Russia in its war against Ukraine even as it confronts widespread national protests.

Why are the nuclear talks stalled? How far away is Iran from building a nuclear bomb? Is U.S. President Joe Biden considering a military option if diplomacy fails?

As the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley is tasked with executing Washington’s entire Iran policy, from its continuing sanctions on Tehran to attempts to reenter the JCPOA. He joined Foreign Policy’s editor in chief, Ravi Agrawal, to discuss the stalled nuclear deal, whether sanctions are working, and how Washington is responding to the protests in Tehran and the regime’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Robert Malley, U.S. special envoy for Iran: Iran is only a few weeks away from having enough fissile material for a bomb.

Robert Malley explains why Iran is to blame for failed nuclear talks.

U.S. special envoy for Iran: U.S. President Joe Biden will agree to a military option as a last resort if that will stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Robert Malley

U.S. special envoy for Iran

Robert Malley is the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of the International Crisis Group. He served as a special assistant for the Middle East under former President Barack Obama. He also served as a special assistant to former President Bill Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs and as director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

Ravi Agrawal

Editor in chief, Foreign Policy

Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of the podcast Global Reboot, and a frequent commentator on world affairs on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC. Before joining FP, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. Agrawal has shared a Peabody Award and three Emmy nominations for his work as a TV producer, and his writing for FP was part of a series nominated for a 2020 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. Agrawal is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

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Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran

November 30, 2022

Is there a way to revive the Iran nuclear deal? Is U.S. President Joe Biden considering a military option if diplomacy fails? Watch U.S. special envoy for Iran Robert Malley in discussion with FP’s editor in chief, Ravi Agrawal. The two talked about the stalled nuclear deal, the violent crackdown on protests in Iran, and how Washington plans to respond to Tehran’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war.

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Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)
Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)

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Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)
Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)

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Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)
Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies 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)

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