Top US negotiator skeptical over nuclear deal, paper claims
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Top US negotiator skeptical over nuclear deal, paper claims

Maariv says Wendy Sherman does not share John Kerry's zeal for an agreement with Iran

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, left, the EU's Catherine Ashton, center, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, right, hold talks over Iran's nuclear program in Geneva, November 9, 2013. (photo credit: State Department/Twitter)
US Secretary of State John Kerry, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, left, the EU's Catherine Ashton, center, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, right, hold talks over Iran's nuclear program in Geneva, November 9, 2013. (photo credit: State Department/Twitter)

Despite a US push for a deal with Iran that would ease sanctions but let Tehran keep enriching uranium, some members of Washington’s negotiating team harbor doubts about the wisdom of such an agreement, an Israeli paper reported Sunday.

Among those opposed to the developing deal is the lead US negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, according to the Maariv report, which cites an unnamed Western diplomat with knowledge of the internal administration rift.

The US and five other world powers are reportedly close to signing a deal with Tehran to ease sanctions as part of a first step toward curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Israel has come out fiercely against such a deal, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “bad and dangerous.”

Sherman visited Israel to brief Israeli leaders following the latest round of P5+1 talks with Iran in Geneva last week, but left without an understanding with Jerusalem, highlighting the deep rift that has developed between the capitals over the nuclear issue.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have defended the deal as a necessary diplomatic step, but according to Maariv, Sherman is more skeptical.

The report states that Sherman’s stance is colored by her role in the failed talks between the US and North Korea over that country’s then-nascent nuclear weapons program.

Israel on Sunday will welcome French President Francois Hollande, whose country was the lone voice of opposition to the deal with Tehran. Netanyahu will reportedly urge Hollande to continue opposing a deal that lets Iran continue to enrich uranium.

According to the report, Israeli officials have come to terms with the fact that a partial deal with Iran will be signed, possibly as soon as this month. However, they say two clauses favorable to Israel’s stance will be added, namely demanding that the Arak heavy water reactor be kept shut and the uranium enriched to over 20 percent be converted into fuel rods.

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