The politician everyone’s been waiting for, NY Senator Chuck Schumer made his announcement against the Iran deal tonight during the Republican debate and Jon Stewart’s farewell. Does he think he can get away with this without anyone noticing? Fat chance.
Schumer, who voted for the Iraq War in 2002, says in a long statement that he wants regime change in Iran. The same hardline leaders may well be around for another 35 years, and it’s Iran’s non-nuclear activities in the Middle East that give him the most pause. So it’s about the threat to Israel, through Hezbollah, and Hamas. He cites Gaza!
In addition, we must consider the non-nuclear elements of the agreement. This aspect of the deal gives me the most pause. For years, Iran has used military force and terrorism to expand its influence in the Middle East, actively supporting military or terrorist actions in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza. That is why the U.S. has labeled Iran as one of only three nations in the world who are “state sponsors of terrorism.” Under this agreement, Iran would receive at least $50 billion dollars in the near future and would undoubtedly use some of that money to redouble its efforts to create even more trouble in the Middle East, and, perhaps, beyond.
Schumer has often said that his name means he is the Shomer– Hebrew for guardian– of Israel, but also warned Jewish groups that he had to act in the best interest of the U.S. Still he faced pressure from Israel supporters. At a rally against the deal last month at which such Democrats as Robert Morgenthau urged him to oppose the deal, constituents called on Schumer to be a Shomer.
New York Times says Schumer, a “Jewish Democrat,” wrote the statement on a yellow legal pad. It certainly reads like that. Rambling.
Rep Eliot Engel of NY promptly followed suit. “Another influential Jewish lawmaker,” Reuters says:
Blows for Obama as key lawmakers come out against Iran deal
The National Iranian American Council deplored the decision. It says that Schumer is demanding that Iran give up conventional weapons, and his decision is a slap in the face of the Iranians who labored to moderate Iran and bring the deal about. Jamal Abdi:
For Iranian Americans, Schumer’s prediction that Iran will never change–and that the Iranian people will not be able to push the country in a more moderate direction–is also disappointing. The deal stands on its own merits as strong arms control agreement regardless of the dynamics inside of Iran. But it also holds the potential to open new opportunities for the Iranian people to build a brighter, more peaceful future. If Schumer does not think Iranians can change the direction of their country, he must have ignored the 2013 elections in which the Iranian people defied internal pressures and external naysayers to manage to elect a moderate president to power. This nuclear deal is in no small part the result of efforts by ordinary Iranians who are moderate, educated, hold positive views of Americans, and represent the best hope for a brighter future in Iran and the region. A rejection of the deal is a slap in the face to those in Iran who want change.
Jeffrey Sachs, of Earth Institute writes:
Schumer fails most important foreign policy test of career.
Dylan Williams of J Street says that Schumer’s leadership future is now at risk:
Seeing lots of Democratic heavy-hitters noting that, unlike the
#IranDeal, there are alternatives to Chuck Schumer
Scott Roth agrees:
Now that @SenSchumer opposes the Iran deal, I look forward to watching as he is purged from the party.
Will Dems still back him as [Harry] Reid replacement as Democratic Senate leader in 2016? Hmmm. Gotta wonder.
Jim Manley, longtime Senate staffer, answers: Yes.
Scott Roth says Schumer sees an upside:
The truth is the deal is probably going 2 pass & assholes like @SenSchumer and @RepSteveIsrael will get 2 say they were the tough holdouts.