After the storm of criticism he provoked in mid-October, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley apologized on Monday for a recent tweet he posted on the anti-government protests in Iran which have spread across for over a month now.
Speaking during a webinar with the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Malley admitted that his message was a mistake that he owned up to.
The US Iran envoy underscored that it’s not up to him or anyone else to characterize what Iranian protestors want since they do an excellent job expressing their demands and their aspirations themselves.
Malley said in a post on Twitter on Oct. 22 that protesters in Iran had been demonstrating for respect for their dignity and human rights from the Iranian regime, which was seen as diminishing the protesters’ demands.
His tweet sparked a backlash from hundreds of Iranians who noted that Iranian protesters are in fact calling for regime change, not for the current regime to respect their rights.
There were even many calls made for Malley to step down following his tweet.
Many Iranians opposed to the Islamic Republic consider Malley overly lenient with the Iranian regime, which makes him an unpopular figure among Iranian dissidents, who also accuse him of prioritizing the nuclear deal the US and EU are striving to reach with Tehran over human rights of the people.
That is not surprising considering the fact that Malley was a key member of former President Barack Obama’s appointed team that negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal Washington withdrew from in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, who then reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran.
Since April 2021, Malley has spearheaded the indirect talks – which are currently at an impasse- with Iran to restore the 2015 deal.