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The State Department on Tuesday tapped leading sanctions expert Richard Nephew as its new coordinator combating global corruption, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

This position, pledged on International Anti-Corruption Day, will integrate and elevate the fight against corruption across all aspects of U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

"Creating and filling this position demonstrates the importance the United States places on anti-corruption as a core national security interest and reiterates the central role global partnerships play in this fight," he noted.

The role was created ahead of the 2021 Summit for Democracy where President Joe Biden sounded the alarm on the rise of global corruption.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told TURAN's Washington correspondent during yesterday's briefing that Nephew's position "means that he and his team will be charged with strengthening U.S. Government alignment on our anti-corruption work and to work closely with international partners as well to advance our collective goals in the realm of anti-corruption."

"Part of this includes leading the Department of State’s implementation of the first ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, advancing our efforts through the Summit for Democracy – we’re in the midst of the Year of Action right now – there are many strands of work that continue from the Summit for Democracy, as we bring together all of those resources – some of which are at the State Department but other tools, as you alluded to, through other parts of the Executive Branch – to advance the administration’s anti-corruption in our broader democratic renewal agenda," Price explained.

Nephew previously served as deputy special envoy for Iran, principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, and director for Iran on the National Security Staff.

TURAN also asked Price about the State Department's recent diplomatic note to foreign embassies regarding transnational repression against dissidents.

"This is a message that we have consistently conveyed to – in capitals around the world but also to embassies here in Washington – transnational repression, extraterritorial repression, including the repression of dissidents in a place like the United States – and we’ve highlighted some of those cases, or I should say the Department of Justice has highlighted some of those cases. It’s something about which we are profoundly concerned," he said.

"So it is a message that we considered was appropriate to reiterate, and we will continue to do so given the priority we attach to this issue" Price added.

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.

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