Two top Jewish Democrats overnight Thursday-Friday announced they will oppose the Iran nuclear deal in a September vote in Congress, in a blow to US President Barack Obama’s efforts to garner support for the accord reached between world powers and Iran on July 14.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement that “after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”
Schumer said he would make an effort to persuade his fellow lawmakers to oppose the deal, while praising Obama’s diplomacy. According to The New York Times, the senator had studied the deal carefully prior to the announcement, and had met with Obama, negotiator Wendy Sherman, and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger to discuss its merits.
“While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion,” he said.
“To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great,” Schumer said. “Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Eliot Engel, the most senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, announced on Thursday he would oppose the accord.
“The answers I’ve received simply don’t convince me that this deal will keep a nuclear weapon out of Iran’s hands, and may in fact strengthen Iran’s position as a destabilizing and destructive influence across the Middle East,” Engel said, according to Reuters.
It’s nearly certain that the GOP-controlled Congress will reject the deal, and that Obama will veto that bill. That means the suspense is over whether Obama can corral enough Democratic support to sustain his veto and keep the agreement alive.
So did two additional Democratic senators: Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.