US promises to consult with Israel on any Iran deal

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman says latest round of talks ‘serious and substantive’ for first time

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Where in the world is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman? (screen capture: Channel 10)
Where in the world is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman? (screen capture: Channel 10)

The US will inform and consult with Israel about any nuclear deal world powers arrive at with Iran before it is carried out, because the Jewish state’s security is paramount, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said in an interview with Channel 10 on Sunday.

“Whatever agreement we reach Israel will know about, understand and consulted with us on, because Israel’s security is bedrock and there is no closer security relationship than what we have with each other,” she said.

Throughout the interview, however, the US’s chief nuclear negotiator refused to disclose details of the talks between the P5+1 and Tehran, which are set to reconvene later this week. Sherman noted that, unlike previous talks, the latest round of negotiations with Iran showed “for the first time a serious and substantive negotiation,” and Tehran’s silence about the particulars of the talks “speaks to the seriousness of the negotiations.”

She dismissed any comparison of the current talks to the Munich Conference in 1938, in which appeasement of Nazi Germany by Britain’s Chamberlain administration compromised Czechoslovakian security, helping trigger the Second World War.

“We haven’t agreed to anything yet,” Sherman said, reiterating the mantra of her boss, US Secretary of State John Kerry, that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” She emphasized that the United States had yet to agree to lift painful sanctions crippling Iran’s economy. Nor, she said, would an initial time-buying agreement remove “the fundamental architecture of the oil and banking sanctions.”

“We must… assure ourselves that Iran will not be able to have a nuclear weapon,” Sherman said.

Answering a query as to whether the US trusts the sincerity of Iran and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Sherman said there was a great deal of mutual distrust, and that world powers “approach these negotiations to try to deal with Iran’s nuclear program and President [Barack] Obama’s commitment that Iran not obtain nuclear weapons.”

Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments at the UN that Israel would stand alone against Iran if need be, Sherman remarked that the best resolution to the issue of Iran’s nuclear program was “a peaceful negotiated solution” — and that Netanyahu was well aware of the fact.

“Israel knows as well as any country, if not better than any country, the cost of war, the cost of military action,” she said.

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