May 23, 2022

Rationale for nuclear talks with Iran ‘hard to understand,’ says high-ranking American diplomat

In an admission certain to infuriate Americans everywhere, a high-ranking Biden administration official stated over the weekend that it is “hard to understand” why the U.S. and other nations would continue to engage in nuclear negotiations with Iran, particularly in the wake of a weekend rocket attack in Iraq for which Tehran claimed responsibility.

As the Washington Times reports, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman made an appearance on Fox News Sunday, and her comments came during a discussion of why the administration would remain so committed to entering into a new nuclear deal with Iran, given that country’s aggressive stance toward the U.S. and instability stemming from the conflict in Ukraine.

Talks for the government in Tehran to re-enter a version of the pact from which former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States back in 2018 have been underway for some time and are reportedly nearing completion, and while America is not a direct participant in negotiations, given its non-party status, President Joe Biden has long indicated his willingness to rejoin such a deal, should agreement be reached.

As the Times noted, Russia is currently in negotiations with Iran, as are China, Britain, France, and Germany, and Moscow has reportedly stated that its trade with Iran must be exempted from the host of heavy sanctions placed on the country due to its aggression against Ukraine.

With those parameters as a backdrop, Sherman was asked why the Biden administration would even entertain compromises of any sort with Russia or Iran, to which she replied, “It’s hard to understand. I completely appreciate that.”

“But here’s the deal: If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s ability to project power into the Middle East and to deter us, our allies and partners is enormous. First we’ve got to make sure they cannot obtain a nuclear weapon,” Sherman added.

Considering that her remarks came almost immediately on the heels of a missile attack that hit close to the U.S. consulate in Irbil, Iraq, Sherman’s take on the situation drew swift criticism from Republicans.

GOP Sen. Jim Risch (ID) reacted to Sherman by opinion, “I feel like the administration is living in an alternative universe from where we are. This is nonsense. And then it sounds like it had exactly the effect the Iranians wanted. They fired these missiles at a U.S. installation and now Wendy is saying we need to get [the deal] signed as soon as possible.”

Speaking about the re-start of nuclear talks with Tehran last year, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opined that “the entire basis of the [Obama-era nuclear deal] was fundamentally flawed” and expressed his hope that “the Biden administration will see this isn’t 2015” and not grant dangerous concessions to Tehran, but judging from Sherman’s words on Sunday, that advice may unfortunately be going unheeded.

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