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Democrat on House Armed Services Committee Announces Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal

Rep. Donald Norcross (D – N.J.) announced that he will vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and emphasized that “Iran must never be allowed to become a nuclear threat to the world,” the Burlington County Times reported yesterday.

Norcross and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R – N.J.), another New Jersey congressman who opposes the deal, are both members of the House Armed Services Committee and in this capacity had access to view classified documents related to the JCPOA. Both congressman spoke of their decision to oppose it after returning from a trip to Israel.

The Times reported that the White House had hoped to convince Norcross to support the deal, but that the congressman said:

“I’ve listened. I’ve studied the issues. And, after careful consideration, I must vote against the deal. …

“The Iranian regime is a known sponsor of terrorism that has made no secret of its hatred for both the United States and Israel. Providing relief for them by lifting economic sanctions now essentially rewards past behavior and infuses billions of dollars into their economy that could be used to buy more weapons and outsource more terror. Moreover, the deal does not provide enough assurance that Iran will be restricted from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. So this windfall may ultimately help fund their nuclear ambitions.”

MacArthur noted that he opposed the JCPOA before his trip to Israel, and added, “My views are stronger than ever that the president is making a mistake.”

Norcross’ full statement, which was delivered at a synagogue in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is available on his website. In his remarks, Norcross outlined the terms that were integral to securing an effective deal.

In April, prior to the announcement of a deal, I wrote a letter to President Obama, voicing my concerns over the negotiations with Iran and missed deadlines. In it, I outlined my belief that an acceptable deal would be long-term and fully transparent, and would provide for the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program verified by intrusive inspections in exchange for phased sanctions relief. Unfortunately, the JCPOA falls short in each of these criteria.

Last month, House Democrats Juan Vargas (D – Calif.), Grace Meng (D – N.Y.), and Albio Sires (D – N.J.) announced that they will vote against the JCPOA. Later, Kathleen Rice (D – N.Y.) and three high-ranking Democrats in the House — Representatives Steve Israel (D – N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D – N.Y.), and Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) — joined them in opposition. Representatives Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.) and Brad Sherman (D – Calif.) came out against the deal more recently. Engel is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which also includes Sherman, Sires, Meng, and Deutch as members. Last week senior Democratic Whip, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D – Fla.) announced his opposition to the deal too.

[Photo: Representative Donald Norcross / YouTube ]