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Two key Democrats say will vote against Iran nuclear agreement

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (left) and Representative Eliot Engel

Two Jewish lawmakers from the US President Barack Obama's Democratic Party have announced they will vote against the Iran nuclear agreement, betraying the Obama administration fighting hard to save the accord in the Republican-dominated Congress.

Senator Chuck Schumer said on Thursday he would vote against the conclusion of nuclear talks that was reached last month in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 group — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

Moments after, Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also declared to join Obama’s rivals to oppose the nuclear accord.

The US Congress is reviewing the Iran nuclear agreement and is likely to vote on it in September.

"Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed," Schumer said in a statement.

"This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor," he noted. "I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval."

Meanwhile, Engel claimed that Iranians would not uphold their end of the agreement. "I still believe that a negotiated solution is the best course of action. That's the path I believe we should pursue. But ... I regret that I cannot support this deal.”

According to the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran will be recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program.

But some restrictions will be placed on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Most Republicans oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran, but they need a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to override a possible presidential veto, and to reach that threshold, Republicans need Democratic support.

The White House has launched a sales pitch to Congress, which remains skeptical of the nuclear accord with Iran, and has 60 days to vote to either approve or disapprove of it.

The announcements by Schumer and Engel were a blow to Obama, who is striving to save the Iran nuclear agreement in Congress, which is expected to pass a resolution opposing the measure.


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