Around the Institute

State Department Official Wendy Sherman On Russia, Iran Nuclear Talks and More

March 26, 2014

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman discussed the US-Iran nuclear talks at a recent off-the-record event with policy experts and journalists at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. In an exclusive one-on-one interview, the fourth-ranking State Department official and former Aspen Strategy Group (ASG) member — back from a diplomatic trip to Ukraine — discussed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Syria’s humanitarian crisis, and nuclear talks with Iran.

When asked about the progress of the US nuclear talks with Iran, Sherman described the meetings as “productive, substantial, and professional,” but noted that there is still, as President Barack Obama has said, “decades of mistrust” to work through when it comes to US-Iranian relations. “That’s not going to be overcome, even if we get to a comprehensive agreement [on nuclear weapons], we’re still going to have a long road ahead,” she said.

Watch the video below for the full conversation.

Former Clinton national security adviser and current ASG member Sandy Berger was also in attendance. In an interview after the event, Berger commented on Russia’s recent takeover of Crimea.

“I think what [Putin’s] done is a fundamental challenge to the arrangement that has existed since the end of the Cold War, whereby there’s been respect for the borders of the states of the former Soviet Union,” he said.

Below, Berger, now chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, shares his thoughts on Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and his impressions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.