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Tillerson to keep anti-Semitism envoy but slash Iran nuke deal coordinator

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that North Korea's latest missile test was 'provocative' but that he still hopes to persuade Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table
Brendan Smialowski (AFP/File)
US state department to make cuts, slash several diplomatic positions

The US State Department said Monday it will keep the position of special envoy for combating anti-Semitism but will slash several other diplomatic positions, including the special envoy on the Iran nuclear deal, as part of major restructuring by the administration, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported.   

The position of special envoy to monitor and battle anti-Semitism was created in 2004 by congressional legislation, but hasn't been filled since President Trump entered office in January. The envoy trains State Department officials to identify and strategize how to combat anti-Semitism abroad, a position previously described by the Anti-Defamation League's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt as the "strongest possible signal to our allies and to the world that fighting anti-Semitism is a fixture of American foreign policy."

Jewish leaders and congressional lawmakers from both parties have put pressure upon the Trump administration to keep the position, after Tillerson hinted in June he was considering abolishing it.    

In a letter to the US Senate, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the restructuring would ensure State Department resources were being used effectively.

“The goal of restructuring these offices is to ensure that each policy priority efficiently aligns with the resources housed in the regional and functional bureaus,” Tillerson said in a letter to the US Senate.

Envoys for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Holocaust issues, religious freedom and LGBT rights will remain intact but the coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation and the coordinator for sanctions policy will be slashed along with special emissaries for Afghanistan-Pakistan, disability rights and closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

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