© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria in Geneva
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Senate confirmed President Joe Biden‘s candidate, Wendy Sherman, as undersecretary of state on Tuesday the number two position in the department. The Senate backed the nomination 56-42, as a handful of Republicans joined Biden’s Democrats in voting for Sherman. Sherman, 71, a foreign policy veteran, ran into Republican resistance because she helped negotiate the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, which was fiercely opposed by both Republicans and some Democrats. Former Republican President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018. The accord fell apart when Iran violated its limits on nuclear enrichment and Trump reimposed sanctions. But the Biden administration has tried to re-engage, and Iran and world powers last week held what they described as “constructive” talks to salvage the deal. The issue was complicated when Iran said Tuesday that it will begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that will bring the fissile material closer to levels suitable for a bomb, after accusing Israel of sabotaging a nuclear facility. The government of Israel opposed the nuclear pact. Sherman had promised a new focus on Iran in his March confirmation hearing, noting that the world has changed since the pact was implemented in 2016. Deals with Iran should be “decided on the merits of where we are today, not nostalgia. of what could have happened. “Sherman said. Sherman was a State Department adviser from 1997 to 2001, when she was also the North Korea Policy Coordinator. From 1993 to 1996 she served as undersecretary of state for legislative affairs.