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U.S. termination of Iran deal to jeopardize efforts with N. Korea: ex-U.S. diplomat

2017/10/05 05:16

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- The United States will show North Korea that it is not a reliable partner in talks if it breaks away from an international agreement designed to curb Iran's nuclear program, a former senior American diplomat said Wednesday.

Wendy Sherman, who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Barack Obama administration, led the negotiations to broker the 2015 deal under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The Trump administration has talked about withdrawing from the deal when it is required to certify Iran's compliance with the terms on Oct. 15.

"North Korea will see this as we are unreliable and we don't have credibility," Sherman told a forum here. "And that no matter what kind of deal, we will not uphold it."

  

This file photo shows former U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman. (Yonhap) This file photo shows former U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman. (Yonhap)

Tensions have risen over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, leading some to call for negotiations with the regime in Pyongyang. Trump has rejected the notion and called out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his efforts to start a dialogue with the North.

"It doesn't make us tougher with North Korea," Sherman said of the potential termination of the Iran deal. "It isolates us from all the rest of the world."

   Sherman, who coordinated North Korea policy during the Clinton administration, is reportedly among a handful of former U.S. government officials who could meet with a North Korean official in Moscow later this month.

Radio Free Asia reported the meeting would take place with Choe Son-hui, director-general of the North Korean foreign ministry's North American affairs bureau, on the sidelines of a nonproliferation conference set to open in the Russian capital Oct. 19.

"There aren't structured discussions," Sherman said when asked about the report. "I'm going principally to be on a panel about the Iran deal, and my understanding is that North Korea will have representatives at that conference. That's the sum total of what I know."

   hague@yna.co.kr

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