February 17th, 2014
05:13 PM ET

Iran nuclear deal commitments kept so far, U.S. official says

By Jamie Crawford

Iran is rolling back parts of its nuclear program and getting relief from sanctions in return as an interim agreement aimed at gauging Tehran's willingness to curb its nuclear ambitions appears to be working with global powers gearing up for talks on Tuesday to forge a long-term pact.

"So far everyone, both Iran and all of the rest of us who provided some very limited, targeted sanctions relief have kept their commitments," Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official and lead negotiator for the United States on the Iran deal, told Wolf Blitzer on Monday in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Sherman, the under secretary for political fairs, spoke from Vienna where talks on a comprehensive accord between Iran, the United States, Germany and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are due to begin on Tuesday.

The six-month deal was reached in November and took effect in January.
The Vienna talks "will build on that first step, because we don't want it to be the only step," Sherman said.

"We go into this negotiation very clear eyed, very sober," she said. "It's going to be very tough."

Her comments came as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said his country would not "renege" on the talks, but predicted they "will not lead anywhere."

"What I care about is what Iran does much more than what Iran says," Sherman said.

She added that any final deal will be contingent on Iran taking "concrete" verifiable steps that prevent it from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The United States and its allies believe Iran is aiming to develop a nuclear weapon, while Tehran has said it's atomic efforts are peaceful.

Sherman said she had seen recent Iranian reports that Russia has offered to build a nuclear reactor inside Iran in exchange for oil shipments, but did not offer a comment on whether or not that was a good idea.

North Korea camps

Sherman, who served as a top official on North Korea during the Clinton administration, also spoke of the "horror" of Pyongyang's labor and prison camp system on the same day the United Nations released a report about the secretive country's dismal record on human rights.

"We know a whole generation of children is growing up (in North Korea) with stunted growth and stunted intellect," Sherman said with many of its people subsisting on twigs and plants due to a chronic food shortage.

"As I have always said North Korea is not a place any of us would want to live in, and I give the United Nations credit for highlighting the horrible human rights abuses that are going on in North Korea."

Sherman added the United States is involved in "constant efforts" to free Kenneth Bae, an American currently being held in North Korea who was said to have recently been moved to a labor camp.

Bae is "not well and needs to be released without precondition," she said.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. WERTWERT32452345

    Let's all hope that this works out. We need to get together and end these obscene "sanctions" against Iran as soon as possible!

    February 19, 2014 at 9:24 am | Reply
  2. uncdig

    and Bhengazi was just a protest gone wild, nsa wasnt spying on America, the irs didnt target conservative, if you like your plan you can keep it, somehow I don't believe Ms Sherman or her boss

    February 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  3. changeirannow

    There are certain historically bad decisions made throughout history. Neville Chamberlain declaring peace in our time after meeting with Hitler in Munich is one. Granting Iran sanctions relief without firm concessions to dismantle its nuclear program is another. What the West forgets and why this is such a bad deal is that we are conditioning an agreement on the "hope" of compliance from a nation who's leaders answer to the word of God as interpreted by the supreme leader. At best that seems whimsical. At worst it’s very naive. Any agreement needs to call for concrete demonstrations of compliance; otherwise you can never ensure real change. Iran has never demonstrated it can follow through on agreements and unless it does so now, agreeing to lift sanctions on a promise is absurd.

    February 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  4. ERYTERYTYERYTERT34523

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    February 18, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply
  5. ERYTERYTYERYTERT34523

    COMMUNIST OBAMA AND LATINO FRIENDS AMERICANS.

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    February 18, 2014 at 11:49 am | Reply
  6. ERYTERYTYERYTERT34523

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    February 18, 2014 at 11:47 am | Reply
  7. ERYTERYTERT34523

    OBAMA Y LOS AMIGOS COMUNISTAS LATINO AMERICAMOS.

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    CUALES SON LOS BANCOS CON LO QUE SE HACEN LOS PAGOS.

    PREGUNTEMOLES AL FBI.

    February 18, 2014 at 11:44 am | Reply
  8. WERTWERTWE23452345

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    February 18, 2014 at 10:07 am | Reply
  9. zcyrus

    The Iran regime changed the tactic , because the Ahmadi nejad tactic failed and they switched to the new policy. Talking and pretending that they gave up about the bomb to get rid of sanctions, but keep all their atomic facilities safe like Parchin site that they did some nuclear explosion test and never permitted any inspection.

    February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  10. zcyrus

    Khamenehii Supreme leader of Iran told today: We will not get any agreement with 5 + 1 (because we do not give up the bomb), but negotiating is fine (because we try to get rid of sanctions)!!

    February 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  11. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    February 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Cbrew86836

      John Smith, you're an idiot. America is the worlds only true Superpower, and as such has gotten involved in conflicts across the globe because it can and in some instances because it should. You talk about Iraq and 1 million people dying... sorry d00shbag, I was there, there was no where near 1 million people killed. In fact, while we were there, the vast majority of deaths came from infighting between rival factions within Iraq, and from extremists who came to Iraq to try to kill Americans and often when they realized that was not a very fruitful effort, they went after the local communities who did not share their world view. Furthermore, America is the largest most powerful country on Earth, it's economy is larger than any other on Earth and it's military is more powerful than any on Earth, if you think we are a failed state, then you are, as I stated an idiot.

      February 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Reply
    • John doe

      Blow me.

      February 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • sean

      listen Abdul or ahmed or whatever farsi name u go by "john smith" I respect the Muslim faith and its people..but what I wont stand by is the disrespect that is given to Christians....at the end of time we shall all see who is the Truth and the way to heavan..but the constant diatribes against the USA has got to stop buddy or you risk your land can become a parking lot...k buddy? We aren't looking for a war...but I suggest u don't wake up the sleeping giant....'nuff said

      February 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Reply
    • zcyrus

      Iran regime is Terrorist center for training and also keeping them safe to send them all over the region.
      Washington post:
      A senior al-Qaeda figure with close ties to the terrorist group’s current leader has left Iran, where he had lived for years after fleeing American forces in Afghanistan in 2001, according to former and current U.S. intelligence officials.
      Thirwat Shihata is the latest terrorist suspect to leave Iran, raising questions about the country’s motives for allowing or forcing the departure of a string of al-Qaeda members that it had sheltered over the past decade.
      U.S. officials said that Shihata, a 53-year-old Egyptian, was the deputy of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s current leader, when he ran Egyptian Islamic Jihad before it formally joined forces with Osama bin Laden in 1998.
      “Shihata is among the few remaining members of al-Qaeda’s old guard,” said a U.S. counterterrorism official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of not having authorization to talk publicly about the movements of the al-Qaeda figures. “His ties to Zawahiri extend back decades, as both men cut their teeth in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. . . . Shihata has kept a low profile in recent years, but there’s no question that he’s one of the more seasoned terrorists at large today.”

      February 17, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Reply
      • WERTWERT32452345

        What a stupid comment this is! The Iranian ayatollahs are no worse than the right-wing thugs in Washington!

        February 19, 2014 at 9:22 am |

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