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      Wendy Sherman to Israel: Don't Make Iran Talks Harder

      The United States hopes no one will interfere with the talks with Iran, says chief American negotiator as she arrives in Jerusalem.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/23/2014, 4:06 AM

      U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman
      U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman
      Reuters

      Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs and the head of the American negotiation team to the nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers (P5+1), said Saturday that the goal is to reach a permanent agreement with Iran by July 20.

      Sherman was speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, where she arrived in order to brief the Israelis on the latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna.

      In what appeared to be a warning to Israel, she said the United States hopes no one will interfere with the talks.

      "We don't enter these talks with rose-colored glasses and we don't know yet if we can resolve this diplomatically," Sherman said, according to Haaretz.

      "It will be critical that our negotiators and partners have the space to get this done diplomatically. The talks with Iran will be very hard and we can't afford to make it even harder."

      Haaretz also quoted her as having stressed that Iran’s nuclear program would have to be "limited, discreet, constrained, monitored and verified."

      If the Iranian nuclear enrichment program does not meet these conditions there will be no agreement, Sherman added.

      She noted that the United States "would like there to be zero enrichment" but that is an "unlikely" expectation.

      On Sunday, Sherman will meet with her Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said, as have other Israeli leaders, that the interim agreement that was signed with Iran in November is dangerous and will allow Tehran to continue its nuclear program and give nothing back to the West while being rewarded with sanctions relief.

      This position has placed the Netanyahu at odds with the U.S. administration, to the point where President Barack Obama reportedly told him to “take a breather” from his criticism and shift attention to the terms of the final deal still under negotiation.