Biden’s deputy secretary of state nominee OK’d by Senate committee

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Mar 11, 2021

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of US President Joe Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of state Thursday. Wendy Sherman’s nomination will subsequent move to a full Senate vote, although that might be delayed amid criticism of her work on the Iran nuclear deal.

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Sherman was the United States’ lead negotiator for the 2015 Iran nuclear settlement whereas serving as undersecretary of State for political affairs beneath President Barack Obama. The settlement eliminated worldwide sanctions on Iran in trade for the Islamic Republic scaling again its nuclear program. In 2018, US President Donald Trump eliminated the United States from the deal, alleging that Iran was nonetheless looking for to construct a nuclear weapon, and reimposed harsh sanctions. Iran is not in compliance with the deal.

Sherman’s work on the settlement was a subject of dialogue by her supporters and critics throughout Thursday’s Senate listening to. Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the highest Republican on the committee, stated Sherman didn’t fulfill her constitutionally obligation to tell and seek the advice of the Senate on the Iran deal. “I’ve seen really a lack of appreciation for the role of Congress in foreign policy making,” stated Risch, who voted in opposition to her.

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Risch stated Sherman held sure elements of the deal from Congress in the course of the negotiations. “I remember asking her about provisions in the agreement that we could not see. They were secret,” he stated. “I have the same security clearance that she does, being No. 2 on the intelligence committee.”

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland disputed Risch’s assertion, saying “we had full access” in the course of the periods on the nuclear settlement.

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“Ambassador Sherman was part of that process that made sure we had the information to make our decision,” stated Cardin, who notably voted in opposition to the deal.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas additionally voted in opposition to Sherman, largely resulting from her work on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), because the Iran nuclear deal is formally identified.

“The result of the JCPOA would have inevitably led, I believe, to a nuclear Iran, said Cruz.

Cardin was not the only Democrat who voted against the Iran deal to now vote for Sherman to be confirmed. Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey also voted against the Iran deal in 2015 but said he supports Sherman’s confirmation.

“I don’t consider a vote for Sherman as a vote for the Iran deal,” stated Menendez.

Sherman’s nomination has a strong probability of being permitted by the Senate as a result of some Republicans will vote for her along with Democrats. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah voted for Sherman on Thursday, regardless of his opposition to the Iran deal. Romney praised her for being within the “mainstream” of the Democratic Party throughout his remarks.

Sherman would work beneath Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was confirmed by the Senate in January.

Sherman’s nomination handed by the committee 14-8. The committee additionally voted unanimously Thursday to advance Brian McKeon’s nomination to be undersecretary of state for administration and assets.

Biden has stated that he needs to return to the Iran deal, however that Iran should return to compliance. Iran has to date rejected this, saying the United States is the social gathering that first left the settlement and will first take away sanctions.

Sherman answered questions about Iran coverage throughout her look earlier than the committee final week. She stated the scenario is totally different from 2015 and that she is conscious of the menace Iran poses to the United States. Sherman advised the committee that Biden’s Iran coverage has but to be absolutely formulated, however that he doesn’t need to see Iran get a nuclear weapon.

It is unclear when the total Senate will vote on Sherman. Cruz vowed to put a maintain on her nomination till Biden takes motion in opposition to Nord Stream 2, a second Russian pipeline to Germany that’s being constructed. The Senate majority chief decides whether or not to maintain the maintain or dismiss it.

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