One of the Senate’s leading Democrats, Chuck Schumer of New York, on Thursday announced his decision to oppose the deal aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
As part of the deal, the worldwide Atomic Energy Agency will have to verify that Iran does indeed scale down its facilities, clearing a path towards ending UN, US and EU sanctions.
The agreement, reached last month between Iran and six world powers, will lift sanctions in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections at the facilities.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he “profoundly disagrees” with the reasoning behind the lawmakers’ decision to oppose the deal.
During a speech on the Iran deal, President Barack Obama said that Republicans in Congress and Iranian hard-liners were “making common cause”. “To me, after 10 years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it”.
“Senator Schumer is advocating an approach to foreign policy that minimizes the likelihood of success in diplomacy and relies far too much on the ability of the United States to unilaterally impose our will through force”, Earnest said. In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Obama says, “What I said is absolutely true factually”.
Two prominent House Democrats have also come out in opposition to the deal, while a number of their senate counterparts remain undecided. In the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been rallying the 146 House Democrats to support the deal, despite the objections of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer announced on August 7 that he would not support the deal, and the once almost certain position as taking over as Senate leader could be in jeopardy.
Schumer’s no-vote hurts the president’s efforts to win support of Senate Democrats.
“If Iran does not live up to the agreement, sanctions may be reapplied”, Sanders said.
While noting that “all fair-minded Americans should acknowledge the president’s strong achievements in combating and containing Iran”, Schumer said that “no one can tell with certainty which way Iran will go”.
The next day, Obama criticized the opponents of the July 14 agreement as “lobbyists” spending millions of dollars to disseminate the same hawkish rhetoric that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Congress is likely to pass a resolution of disapproval of the deal after it returns from recess in September. There are 46 members of the Democratic caucus in the 100-member Senate and 188 Democrats in the 435-member House.