Obama-era veterans Sherman and Nuland set for top Biden jobs

The reported candidates signal a focus on women, a return to the Iran nuclear deal and other Obama-era policies

FILE PHOTO: Wendy Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 13, 2014.    REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

US president-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate veteran diplomat Wendy Sherman and other Obama-era officials to top jobs in his incoming administration’s foreign affairs team.

According to the news website Politico, Ms Sherman, a senior official from the Obama administration who was a driving force behind the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, will be nominated to serve as deputy to the secretary of state, according to the site.

Another official, Victoria Nuland, is set to be nominated as undersecretary of state for political affairs, the report said. Ms Nuland is known for a tough approach to Russia and her role in Ukraine’s efforts to break from Moscow.

Another Obama-era official, Jon Finer, is expected to be named as deputy national security adviser, while Amanda Sloat, an expert on Turkey and Europe, is set to be named senior director for European affairs in the National Security Council.

The National contacted a spokesman from Mr Biden's transition team about the potential new nominations but did not immediately receive a response.

The reported nominations follow a pattern of the president-elect selecting experienced officials he worked with during the Obama administration, with a focus on women and members of minority groups.

Mr Biden has already said he plans to nominate Antony Blinken as his pick for secretary of state and has named Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser. Both men played major roles in the Obama administration's foreign affairs team.

In a tweet, Georgetown law professor and former Pentagon and State Department official Rosa Brooks celebrated how “more great women” were set to fill “key national security roles” in the incoming administration.

Borzou Daragahi, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, said the appointments of Ms Sherman and Mr Finer, lead negotiators of the nuclear deal between the US, Iran and other major powers, marked an overture to Tehran.

The move “will likely be welcomed by Iranians and enrage” Washington “anti-Tehran pressure groups” Mr Daragahi said in a tweet.

Mr Biden says he wants to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran once he takes office on January 20, though years of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" sanctions and ongoing tensions in the Gulf threaten to complicate this plan.

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