An investigation from an Iranian news outlet found that the Biden administration was infiltrated by a sophisticated Iranian government network.
According to that report, three aides who previously worked for suspended Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley and other individuals were revealed to be part of a network that answered directly to Tehran.
This network also included politically connected academics, researchers, and scientists—similar to the intelligence networks China uses to steal classified research and intellectual property. Iran International English broke the news:
“An investigation by Iran International shows three Iran experts who have worked closely with Robert Malley, Biden’s special envoy on Iran, were members of an influence network formed and guided by Tehran. Our joint reporting project with Semafor is based on thousands of emails from Iranian diplomats.
The Iran Experts Initiative (IEI) was established by the Iranian foreign ministry in 2014 to extend Tehran’s soft power.
The IEI members simultaneously worked for top Western think tanks and gave advice to the US and Europe. Ali Vaez, Ariane Tabatabai, Dina Esfandiary, Adnan Tabatabai were among the top members of the network.”
An investigation by Iran International shows three Iran experts who have worked closely with Robert Malley, Biden’s special envoy on Iran, were members of an influence network formed and guided by Tehran. Our joint reporting project with Semafor is based on thousands of emails… pic.twitter.com/r2k6Pd6K0E
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) September 26, 2023
“Three aides of Robert Malley, Biden's special envoy for Iran, were part of an Iranian government network”https://t.co/AETMchDGFT
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) September 26, 2023
Semafor provided more details regarding the Iranian network:
The emails were obtained and translated by Iran International, a Persian-language television news channel headquartered in London — which was briefly based in Washington due to Iranian government threats — and shared with Semafor. Semafor and Iran International jointly reported on some aspects of the IEI. Both organizations have produced their own stories independently.
The communications reveal the access Rouhani’s diplomats have had to Washington’s and Europe’s policy circles, particularly during the final years of the Obama administration, through this network.
One of the German academics in the IEI, according to the emails, offered to ghostwrite op-eds for officials in Tehran. Others would, at times, seek advice from the Foreign Ministry’s staff about attending conferences and hearings in the U.S. and Israel.
Malley was suspended and had his security clearance revoked earlier this year, according to this CNN article dating back to June.
Malley was the lead negotiation 4 Obama’s nuclear deal w Iran. He was also the Biden admin’s Special Envoy to Iran until June when he his security clearance was cancelled & he was suspended pending an FBI investigation into mishandling classified material: https://t.co/BJCXLXDQYn
— AG (@AGHamilton29) September 27, 2023
Ali Vaez, also alleged to belong to the intel network, defended Malley: “This is certainly not the first time people involved in Iran-related diplomacy have been attacked as “apologists” and “sympathizers” of the regime – usually by people who’ve done everything to oppose every arrangement that actually restricts Iran’s nuclear program.”
18| @Rob_Malley is one. Despite being one of the few Americans to have actually successfully dismantled Iran’s centrifuges, critics opposed his appointment as an "apologist" and "appeaser".https://t.co/nOTqQUHkiM
— Ali Vaez (@AliVaez) September 26, 2023
The Washington Free Beacon reached out to the Pentagon for comment on one of the individuals listed in the report:
A Pentagon spokesman told the Free Beacon that Tabatabai was subjected to a full security screening before being hired.
“Dr. Tabatabai was thoroughly and properly vetted as a condition of her employment with the Department of Defense,” the spokesman said. “We are honored to have her serve.”
Tabatabai, who obtained security clearance for her Pentagon job, and two others affiliated with the influence campaign also served as aides to Biden administration Iran envoy Robert Malley.