U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, and Republican-Conservative U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm rarely agree on issues. But the two lawmakers found themselves on the same side after President Barack Obama announced the new agreement his administration had reached with Iran over that country’s nuclear weapons program.
Both Schumer and Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) released statements criticizing the agreement for going soft of Iran.
Schumer charged that the agreement, which calls for Iran to stop enriching uranium in exchange for strict economic sanctions imposed by the US and its allies to be reduced, lets Iran off easy.
“Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions. It was strong sanctions, not the goodness of the hearts of the Iranian leaders, that brought Iran to the table, and any reduction relieves the psychological pressure of future sanctions and gives them hope that they will be able to gain nuclear weapon capability while further sanctions are reduced,” Schumer said. “A fairer agreement would have coupled a reduction in sanctions with a proportionate reduction in Iranian nuclear capability."
The diplomatic deal in which the US was joined by France, Great Britain, Germany, China and Russia, was endorsed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Israel denounced the agreement as a "historic mistake," Reuters reported.
The agreement was reached after long negotiations in Geneva. President Obama announced the agreement late Saturday night, saying that it reduces the likelihood that Iran will build a nuclear bomb.
Schumer also warned that the senate would vote in favor of imposing additional sanctions against Iran.
“As for additional sanctions, the disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December. I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues,” he said.
Grimm, a US Marine who fought in the fist Gulf War in the early 1990s, said he simply doesn’t trust the Iranian regime and he doesn’t think Obama should either.
“Iran has given us no reason to trust its word and I remain extremely skeptical of this agreement. Iran continues to be an active state sponsor of terrorism and is one the greatest threats to security in the region – particularly in regards to our friend and ally Israel,” said Grimm, who is the co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus.
“As a Marine, I was trained to serve in combat in the Middle East, and I know that the Iranian regime is an expert of deceit and stall tactics. The Mullah’s nuclear ambitions have not been stifled and we must remain steadfast in our resolve to eliminate the nuclear program in its entirety, period,” Grimm said. “Lifting sanctions on Iran, without definitive proof that it has completely dismantled its enrichment facilities and relinquished all such capabilities, is a dangerous mistake."