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Iran nuclear deal keeps Minneapolis native's star rising in diplomatic world


A couple of decades after leading the successful Quiz Bowl team at Southwest High in Minneapolis, Jake Sullivan helped answer a more high-stakes question last week: how to get Iran to rein in its nuclear program.

MinnPost profiles Sullivan, one of the U.S. diplomats whose secret meetings with Iranian officials paved the way to the agreement announced Sunday.

Sullivan is still in his 30's but his resume is already stacked, MinnPost observes. Currently the top national security adviser to Vice-President Joe Biden, he's also been one of Hillary Clinton's closest aides at the State Department, the chief counsel in Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office, a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, a Rhodes scholar, and editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Sullivan himself did not sit down with MinnPost, but some of those who knew him at Southwest High School did. One remembers him leading the Lakers to success in debate and Quiz Bowl competitions. He was also voted most likely to succeed.

And it seems his Minneapolis classmates were prescient about Jake. His role in forging the Iranian agreement seems to have raised his profile in Washington's beltway. The Associated Press reported that President Obama agreeing to make Sullivan co-leader of the talks is evidence of his rising star.

So where will this young Democrat pop up next? Sullivan is diplomatically non-commital on the subject, MinnPost says.

Would there be a role for him in a Clinton presidential campaign? The Washington Post noted that he was Clinton's top aide for debate prep at the State Department.

Or perhaps a return to his home state is in the cards. Time magazine, in naming Sullivan to their 40 Under 40 list, asked him where he'll be in five years. His reply: back in Minnesota in law/public service.

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