Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has spoken out on recent revelations indicating that the Iranian government could be exercising undue influence over the federal government under President Joe Biden. Citing reports on leaked emails indicating the existence of Iran-linked officials in the government, he claimed there is evidence of a concerted Iranian influence operation reaching the highest echelons of the state – including in the president’s inner circle.
In a press release, Cruz referred to the reports from Semafor and Iran International as “indescribably troubling” and accused the Biden administration of allowing Tehran “to get within reach of a nuclear arsenal, restore their economy, and export millions of barrels per day of oil worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”
“Americans have rightly been asking why the Biden administration is so friendly with the Iranian regime, and why Biden administration officials have so single-mindedly enabled Iranian nuclear progress and terrorism. These reports and emails suggest a vast Iranian influence operation that goes to the very top of the administration.”
The senator called on the Biden administration to “immediately cease its secret diplomacy with Iran and its dismantling of sanctions” and insisted that any of the officials highlighted in the reports “should immediately have their security clearances pulled until these allegations are fully resolved and accountability is imposed.”
At the heart of this controversy lies a recently-exposed clandestine initiative known as the “Iran Experts Initiative” (IEI). This effort is aimed at shaping policy and perceptions in America and other Western nations in Iran’s favor.
The existence of the IEI was revealed in a treasure trove of emails and documents procured by Iran International and then shared with Semafor. They exposed Iran’s efforts to amass influence in Washington and Western nations and span from 2003 to 2021. The documents give a deeper look into the Iranian regime’s foreign ministry operations.
Members of the IEI were closely tied with Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran who played a critical role in the 2015 nuclear negotiations. Three of these individuals have access to high positions of authority in the government; one of them works in the Pentagon.
Three of the IEI’s core members were closely tied to Robert Malley, the diplomat who played a pivotal role in hammering out the 2015 nuclear deal. Ariane Tabatabai, a former Middle East fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, joined Malley’s team at the State Department to help with Iran negotiations in 2021. Ali Vaez, the Iran Project Director at the Crisis Group, was sought by Malley for a government appointment. Dina Esfandiary, another Iran analyst, joined up with the International Crisis Group in early 2021 and was also a member of the IEI.
Malley was stripped of his security clearance earlier this year and placed on full unpaid leave pending a State Department investigation. The reason for this development has not been confirmed by the State Department.
The implications of these revelations are deeply troubling, and Cruz is right to hold the Biden administration accountable for allowing these individuals to be involved in our government operations. Perhaps more investigations will shed more light on this matter.