Bipartisan Opposition Growing to Iran Deal

While Obama officials continue to bash Republicans and neocons for opposing the Iran nuclear agreement, growing Democratic opposition, strong statements against the deal by several Democratic legislators, and new poll results indicate Americans disapprove the agreement on a bipartisan basis.

Several Democratic members expressed serious reservations about the Iran deal in congressional hearings last week, including New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Representatives Eliot Engel of New York and Brad Sherman of California.

Rep. Sherman slammed the Iran deal in a recent interview withBreitbart News, warning that the deal amounts to “terrorism with impunity.”  Sherman also told Breitbart: “My goal is to make sure all Americans know this is not morally or legally binding on the U.S. and the world, because I see how ugly this deal is in the next decade.”

Rep. Engel said in a recent interview, “The main problem I have is that this deal will give a lot of money to Iran. Iran will be awash in cash, and they will be able to use it to fund their terrorist activities.”

Congressman Steve Israel of New York, the top ranking Jewish Democrat in the House, announced his opposition to the Iran deal yesterday.  Israel cited three reasons for his unexpected opposition: Iran’s likelihood of exploiting ambiguities in the deal and not facing punitive measures for doing so; the pathways created by the arms embargo repeal for increasing arms stockpiles for Hezbollah and Hamas fighters near Israel’s borders; and the size, sophistication, speed and legitimacy of Iran’s enrichment capacity in the next 15 years.

Rep. Israel is not just opposing the agreement. According to Politico, he plans to work to defeat it in the House, putting him at odds with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who is lobbying Democratic members to support the Iran deal.

Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida also announced his opposition yesterday.  Deutch said too many issues related to Iran’s nuclear program are not addressed in the deal and worries that “unfreezing over $100 billion in assets means more money for Hamas for building terror tunnels in Gaza, more weapons for Hezbollah in Lebanon, more slaughter in Syria, and more violence worldwide.”

A major factor behind Deutch’s opposition to the deal is Iran’s refusal to release former FBI agent Daniel Levinson, one of his constituents, who has been held by Iran since 2007.

Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey announced her opposition to the Iran deal on Tuesday.  Lowey said in a statement she opposed the deal because “sufficient safeguards are not in place to address the risks associated with the agreement.”  Lowey also said “The deal does not explicitly require Iran to fully disclose its previous military work to the IAEA’s satisfaction before sanctions relief is provided, and inspectors will not have immediate access to the most suspicious facilities. There are no clear accountability measures regarding punishment for minor violations, which could encourage Iran to cheat.”

Over the weekend, four other Democratic Congressmen announced their opposition to the Iran agreement: Albio Sires (D-NJ), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY).

New York Senator Chuck Schumer reportedly is leaning toward opposing.  Delaware Senator Chris Coons told Politico he is undecided but has serious reservations and said phone calls to his office are 10-1 against the deal.

Other Democrats opposing the Iran deal include former Senators Joseph Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Mark Begich, and Mary Landrieu and former Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Shelley Berkeley.

The American people have also turned against the Iran deal. According to a Quinnipac University poll, American voters oppose the agreement 57 to 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition from Republicans and independent voters.  A new CBS News poll found Americans oppose the deal 58 to 33 percent.

Opposition to the Iran deal isn’t just Republican, neocon or pro-Israel.  It is a growing bipartisan movement against a dangerous agreement that will severely harm U.S. and international security.  As this bipartisan opposition grows, the Obama administration’s attempt to defend the agreement by portraying opponents as right wing conservatives will look increasingly desperate.