Biden to pick Iran nuclear deal negotiator Wendy Sherman for deputy secretary of state: report

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate a chief architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Wendy Sherman, to serve as deputy secretary of state, Politico exclusively reported Tuesday.

Presently, Sherman has a senior counselor role at the Albright Stonebridge Group, the same firm where Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the president-elect’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, worked as a senior counselor too.

Two people familiar close to the presidential transition told Politico that Biden will pick the seasoned diplomat to serve under his nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, another Obama administration alumnus. Under former President Barack Obama, Sherman was under secretary of state for political affairs and was a chief negotiator during the controversial Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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President Donald Trump, a major critic of Iran and the JCPOA, withdrew the United States from the agreement and cranked up sanctions on the authoritarian state, much to the frustration of U.S. allies in the multilateral agreement.

“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump argued in his May 8, 2018 announcement of the U.S. withdrawal. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

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Since leaving the Obama administration, Sherman has been a vocal critic of President Trump’s foreign policy. She has especially gone after him for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a July 2020 article in Foreign Policy titled “The Total Destruction of U.S. Foreign Policy Under Trump,” Sherman, while also attacking Trump for his handling of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, wrote: “Years from now, we will hopefully discover the exact nature of Trump’s personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin beyond mere envy of power.”

Prior to serving under President Obama, Sherman also served in the Clinton administration as its policy coordinator for North Korea. Her role at the time has received scrutiny, with President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker and Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton have both accused Sherman of “appeasement” toward the hostile totalitarian dictatorship.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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