US Chief Negotiator: We're Committed to Israel

Chief nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman tells reporters that US stands behind Israel's security, but 'no option' better than diplomacy.

Cynthia Blank,

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political A
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political A
Reuters

In yet another attempt to quell Israeli concerns regarding the framework deal on Iran's nuclear program, the United States' chief negotiator stressed Monday that the US was completely committed to Israel's security. 

"Israel has the right to be worried about Iran. We must ensure that Israel has the ability to defend itself from Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah," Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during a special telephone briefing with reporters in Israel.

Although noting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel's concerns are legitimate, Sherman remained firm that "there is no formula or option that will be more effective than the diplomatic track."

According to Sherman, a finalized deal between Iran and world powers, set for June 30, is the best alternative to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

Admitting it wasn't a "perfect deal," Sherman still tried to sway reporters away from the idea that a military operation would put a definite halt to Iran's nuclear program.

"A military strike by Israel or the US would only set back the nuclear program by two years. You can't bomb their nuclear know-how, and they will rebuild everything. The alternatives are there but the best option is a diplomatic negotiated solution."

Sherman also shouldered questions about Iran's role in funding terror globally, suggesting that while the White House shared Israel's concerns, this funding shouldn't play a factor in nuclear talks. 

"We believe we can't condition Iran not getting a nuclear weapon on other issues. Getting the deal is difficult enough. Israel's right to exist and Iran's actions in the region will be dealt with on a parallel track," she said.

"The US will consult Israel on what it needs for its security," she promised, asserting that the US would cooperate with Israel on both the nuclear and regional fronts, but only when it had a direct impact on the Jewish state. 

Emphasizing the US's respect for Netanyahu, Sherman added, "there is no difference [between the US and Israel] on the concern about the Iranian nuclear program but only on the way to deal with it."




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