VOA Exclusive: State Department says “Time for a Pause” on Iran Sanctions

VOA's Siamak Dehghanpour interviewing Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman at the State Department.

VOA’s Siamak Dehghanpour interviewing Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman at the State Department.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the top US negotiator on the Iran nuclear issue, says it may be “time for a pause” before any new sanctions are imposed on Tehran.

In an exclusive interview at the State Department with the VOA Persian Service, Sherman said, “We are beginning to understand each other, to see each other’s needs, and the aspirations of the people of each of our countries.”

Asked about any new sanctions that may be proposed by the US Congress, Sherman said, “We think that this is a time for a pause, to see if these negotiations can gain traction.”

The full interview is posted in English on the VOA news website, and in Farsi on the VOA Persian website.

Sherman has recently been the subject of sharp criticism in the Iranian press following comments she made October 3rd before a Senate committee, when she said deception “is part of the DNA” of the people who sit across from her at the negotiating table. She told VOA she thought there had been a “misunderstanding” about her testimony.

“I chose some words in response to a member of the Senate that I think caused some concern,” Sherman told VOA’s Siamak Dehghanpour. “And I think that those words spoke to this deep mistrust that President [Barack] Obama [has] discussed.” Sherman said, “We have to really work to get over that mistrust, and I think these nuclear negotiations will help us to do so.”

US negotiators are expected to take part in another round of talks with Iran on November 7th in Geneva.

The interview with Under Secretary Sherman will be broadcast to Iran on direct-to-home satellite TV and on VOA’s Internet platforms, where Voice of America programs are widely seen by Iranian audiences, despite efforts to block them.

“Voice of America has significant reach in Iran and provides one of the very few direct channels of communication with the Iranian people,” VOA Director David Ensor said.

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