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Tags: Iran | negotiator | Nuclear | deal | under secretary of state | John Kerry | Wendy Sherman

Chief Iran Negotiator Announces Departure After Deal Deadline

By    |   Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:58 AM EDT

President Barack Obama's chief negotiator with Iran announced Wednesday that she plans to step down after the June 30 deadline for the final nuclear deal.

"It's been two long years," said Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for policy, according to The New York Times.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement Wednesday night saying that her "mentoring of colleagues, her experience, her passion for diplomacy, her calm in the storm set her apart as a great under secretary of state," the Times reported.

Kerry relied on her to lead the high-stakes negotiations.

President Barack Obama also spoke glowingly of Sherman, saying in a statement that he had "long counted on Wendy's unique combination of intellect, toughness and persistence, which have made her one of the most effective diplomats of her generation," the Times reported.

Sherman's predecessor, William Burns, who played a key role in the secret diplomacy with Iran in 2013 which opened the door to formal negotiations, praised her for her expertise.

"There were many moments when our own government, and our negotiating partners, were on different paths with the Iranians, and she was the one who always made sure there were no gaps," Burns said, according to the Times.

Sherman will spend the next five weeks working to finalize the details of the accord with Iran, ironing out issues such as the timeline for the dismantlement of Iran's nuclear infrastructure and an agreement on the details of inspections of nuclear sites.

Sherman talked Wednesday about the challenges of her job.

"It's incredibly complex," she said, according to the Times, "with the Congress, with the press, our negotiating partners — and then, when you are done with that, negotiating with the Iranians. And because we're in the world of 24/7, if there was ever a time when you could aim a message to one audience and hope it was kept from another audience — well, that's not possible, if it ever was."

Sherman said she did not have plans to take another role in the administration, though the Times noted that she has a close relationship with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whose 2008 presidential campaign she supported. Clinton recruited Sherman for her current role.

She previously had worked as a social worker in Boston, a Senate campaign aide, and as an adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the Clinton administration on issues related to North Korea.

Sherman is not without her critics. Republicans lawmakers have associated her with attempts to secure a unilateral agreement without Congress' consent, which was the source of significant controversy until a bill was passed requiring congressional approval of a final deal.

And one lawmaker suggested her experience working on North Korea made her less suitable for the job.

"The American people need an insurance policy to prevent a rerun of North Korea," said Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk last year, according to the Times.

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President Barack Obama's chief negotiator with Iran announced Wednesday that she plans to step down after the June 30 deadline for the final nuclear deal.
Iran, negotiator, Nuclear, deal, under secretary of state, John Kerry, Wendy Sherman
Thursday, 28 May 2015 11:58 AM
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