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Gary Ackerman, Long-Time Democrat from New York, Joins Opposition to Iran Deal

For the fourth time in just a few days, a leading Democrat with deep connections to foreign policy has come out formally against the Iran deal. Gary Ackerman, who served in Congress for three decades representing New York’s 5th Congressional District, has announced he is joining the board of Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, a Democrat-led effort to stop the deal that also includes former Democrat legislators Joseph Lieberman, Shelley Berkley (who is also a board member of The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower), Gary Bayh, Mark Begich and Maria Landrieu. In his statement, he noted that:

An Iran with nuclear weapons must be unacceptable to the U.S. and the world. While I have long argued for negotiations between the U.S. and Iran as a means to stop their nuclear program, the agreement that emerged from these talks simply does not do the job. Stakes are too high to allow for so many loopholes. To make a deal with an enemy who then vows to kill you later, means you left something out of the deal. Don’t you think?

Ackerman, who served as Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has long been an outspoken critic of Iran, joins three other leading Democrat legislators who have formally opposed the deal in the last few days: Grace Meng, a second-term representative from New York; Albio Sires, of New Jersey; and Juan Vargas of California all currently serve in the House and are current or recent members of its Foreign Affairs Committee.

As Congress heads into recess this week, the possibility of a significant pushback against the deal within the Democratic Party has grown as greater numbers of Americans become familiar with its terms. In a poll released by The Israel Project this week, increased knowledge about the deal was correlated with increased opposition to it, especially among Independent and Democrat voters.

According to the law passed by Congress this spring, rejection of the deal will require enough votes to override a Presidential veto–two-thirds of both houses. Reaching that number will require a significant number of Democrats to join Republicans in voting against it. In the forthcoming issue of The Tower Magazine, Martin Peretz makes the case that opposition to the deal is crucial if the Democratic Party wants to retain credibility on foreign policy in the coming generation.

The Tower has also just published a free, downloadable briefing book on the Iran Deal, offering original in-depth analysis on its implications for terrorism, Iranian expansionism, human rights and other issues.

Photo: Wikimedia