WASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is set appoint Wendy Sherman, the chief U.S. negotiator on the Iran nuclear deal, to serve as deputy secretary of state.
Sherman’s appointment as Antony Blinken’s deputy, first reported on Tuesday by Politico, strengthens the belief that the U.S. will re-enter the 2015 deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.
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Sherman previously served as under secretary of state for political affairs in the Obama administration, and has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s foreign policy since entering the private sector. “The administration has set Iran back on a path to perhaps working to obtain nuclear weapons, exactly what we stopped from happening,” Sherman said after Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, calling the decision “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in U.S. history.”
Sherman has previously stressed that U.S. military aid to Israel is a “mutually beneficial investment, one that protects Israel against very real threats and helps promote security and stability.”
Sherman said during negotiations that Israel had influenced much of the nuclear deal. She also warned Jewish leaders that if the Israeli government does not demonstrate its commitment to the two-state solution, the U.S. will have a difficult time continuing to assist its efforts to halt international initiatives on the Palestinian issue at the United Nations.
Sherman has spoken about how painful Israel and much of the American-Jewish community's opposition was for her as an American Jew. “For me personally, one of the most difficult parts was the tension with this beloved country and its people. So having the dissension and the difficulties that we had in this process — and with the American Jewish community of which I consider myself a part — was very, very painful."
She was previously considered to be a top candidate for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a position that went to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, her colleague at the Albright Stonebridge Group consulting firm.
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Another key appointment is Jon Finer, formerly John Kerry’s chief of staff at the State Department and a senior adviser to Blinken during his tenure as deputy national security adviser, and as Jake Sullivan’s deputy national security adviser.
Prior to entering public service, Finer was a journalist who covered Israel's Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Gaza war in 2009 for the Washington Post.