There’s not much New York’s senior Senator Chuck Schumer and the Republican favorite Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, agree on these days, especially when it comes to nuclear options (see Dems). But there’s one area they do agree upon and that is, sharing Israel’s concerns of the Obama administration’s position in talks with Iran and their shared commitment of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, by all means and at any cost.
“It has been deeply disturbing, in these last couple of weeks, to see the administration endeavoring to cut a deal that relaxes sanctions against Iran and doesn’t requite Iran to dismantle even one centrifuge,” Senator Cruz told a pro-Israel Jewish crowd at a Congressional Luncheon honoring the Sephardic Jewry, organized by The Sephardic Legacy Series and coordinated by The Friedlander Group, Wednesday afternoon at the Kennedy Caucus room on the Hill. “In my view, relaxing the sanctions is the opposite way to go. If anything, I think we should strengthen sanctions against Iran.”
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer echoed a similar disagreement with the Administration’s rush to cut an interim deal with Iran. Mr. Schumer pointed to a recent joint letter he issued to Secretary of State John Kerry, along with Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, John McCain, Bob Casey and Susan Collins, expressing their support for negotiations but cautioning the Administration against accepting a deal with Iran that would roll back economic sanctions without also rolling back progress towards nuclear weapons capability.
Schumer, Menendez and McCain attended a nearly two-hour White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Kerry and other administration officials on Tuesday, shortly before releasing the letter.
“Here is my problem with the negotiations,” Senator Schumer, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said. “It looks like from the outline of the negotiations that it’s an unfair trade they are setting up.”
“By reducing the sanctions, even if it’s not by a larger amount, you’re taking away the psychological effect, which may be more important in getting Iran to give up nuclear weapons than the actual economic effect,” Mr. Schumer emphasized. “And we are much as much pressure as we can on the Sec. of State not to do that – not to give up on sanctions and keep ratcheting it up. giving them up or loosening them would be a big mistake”
The two Senators also expressed their support for military action, as a last resort in stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
“Let me tell you what I believe a responsible President of the united States would say,” said Senator Cruz. A responsible president would say, ‘Under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability. And if they do not stop, we will stop them. And we’ll use any and all means to do so, including, if necessary, overwhelming military force.’ The irony is, that sort of clarity diminished the likelihood of military conflict.”
Mr. Cruz, however, expressed his deep concerns and lack of confidence that the Obama administration’s commitment in stopping Iran would not follow in using military force if needed. “I have great confidence that the nation of israel will act to protect herself and her right to exist,” he said to loud applause. “And if Israel strikes militarily to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities, it is difficult to describe a greater benefit that could be done for U.S. national security, than in doing so.” Adding, that in the coming couple of months, the odds are rising that Israel might be forced to act alone.
“This is the worst threat that Israel has had since 1948. A nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel’s very existence, and must, must, must be avoided at all costs,” Mr. Schumer stressed in his closing statement. “We hope we don’t have to use military option but we cannot, cannot, cannot allow a nuclear Iran, not only for Israel but also for the United States.”
Watch Videos of Senators Ted Cruz and Chuck Schumer below:
Congresswomen Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) also addressed the crowd, expressing their shared commitment to the security of Israel and their unwavering support for the continuation of the sanctions regime on Iran.
A summary of the speeches and a detailed report of the event will follow shortly.
Photo credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky
Video: Dov Lenchevsky
(Jacob Kornbluh _ YWN)