Christie joins effort to sway Booker to reject Iran deal

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Activists gather in Newark to urge Booker to support Iran deal.

NEWARK – A group of activists delivered a petition of 15,000 signatures to urge Sen. For the many congressional Democrats in the region who haven’t taken a stance on President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, political pressure has intensified as the White House courts their support and the pact’s opponents escalate their lobbying efforts.In a blistering attack on President Obama, New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie on Tuesday called on his state’s congressional delegation to oppose the Iran nuclear deal. “The president got himself in too deep here, too obsessed with his legacy,” said Christie, flanked by Jewish leaders, at Rutgers University’s Chabad House. “And the American people need to save him from himself.” Several times, the governor name-checked Sen.

The group of around 50 gathered outside the One Gateway Center building in downtown Newark to hold a brief rally, espousing their support for the deal, which is currently awaiting a vote from both Congress and the U.S. A spokesperson issued a statement saying Booker will “make his decision on the Iran deal based upon what he believes is best for America’s national security regardless of political pressure, lobbying, or theatrics.” “The Senator’s decision will be derived from thorough and thoughtful analysis of all the facts, evidence and information as well as from consultation with a wide and diverse array of experts,” the statement said. “Unlike where we started these negotiations over two years ago, where our purpose was to significantly dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure we’re not doing that,” Menendez told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott earlier this month. “We’re basically mothballing that infrastructure for 10 years. Not even one centrifuge will be destroyed under this agreement.” The Republican-led Congress is in the midst of a 60-day review of the deal, and is expected to vote in September on a resolution of disapproval that President Barack Obama has vowed to veto. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. Opponents claim the agreement does not provide adequate guarantees that Iran will dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and could allow the country to quickly build a bomb once it expires after 10 years. Supporters have countered that monitoring and inspections will remain in place long after that, and failure to approve it could cause other countries to revoke economic sanctions against Iran if the U.S. walks away from a deal they helped negotiate. “It will look really bad and sad for America – the big nation, the strong nation – saying no and being singled out,” said Ilse Blyse, an 80-year-old German native now living in Maplewood who attended Wednesday’s rally.

As a vote in Washington moves closer, legislators such as Booker who have yet to make a decision are being heavily lobbied by officials and constituents on either side of the issue. A better deal could not have been negotiated?” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of The World Values Network, declared. “The Jewish people now face another annihilative threat from a genocidal regime,” Boteach said. “This has been a time of mystifying, mystifying pain for the Jewish community.” The event, held inside the Chabad House at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, was a political rally aimed at putting pressure Booker (D-N.J.). They argue that the deal doesn’t do enough to force Iran to halt its nuclear program, that sanctions relief would allow the regime to increase its funding of anti-Israel terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, and they question whether the International Atomic Energy Agency Inspections will be effective.

Christie and Boteach, who consider themselves friends with Booker, urged him to join ranks with the state’s other Democratic U.S. senator, Robert Menendez, in opposing the deal. These lawmakers include Cory Booker, New Jersey’s junior senator; Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s senior senator; and Hakeem Jeffries, a House member from New York. Paul Surovell, who helped organize the Wednesday rally, said he was anxiously awaiting Booker’s decision, though he understood his inclination to carefully consider all sides before weighing in. “I just hope that he is listening to the arguments in favor, because I think they clearly outweigh the arguments against,” he said. “His vote, in a sense, because he’s waited so long, becomes all the more important.” The petition was also delivered to the neighboring office of Sen. If Congress rejects the deal, “it would put Iran in a position to benefit from sanctions relief without having to submit to any of the restrictions or inspections that are central to this agreement,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

Another Democratic Senator from the state, Robert Menendez, has already come out against the deal. “For those who have not yet announced their position, particularly to my friend Senator Cory Booker, this cannot be about politics and it cannot be accepting the flawed idea that a bad deal is better than no deal,” Mr. Booker is close to the Obama administration and is a campaign surrogate for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a fellow Democrat who has endorsed the deal.

The nuclear deal, which was announced in July, is intended to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for relief on economic sanctions. Christie addressed the issue as he finds himself struggling to stay in the top 10 in polling to qualify for the next Republican debate, and his coaxing of Mr.

Jerry Nadler, whose New York City district has a large Jewish population, voiced his support, saying he had come to his decision while seeking to shut out the “demagoguery and hateful rhetoric” accompanying the debate. Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone, who both have large Jewish constituencies, are holding meetings this week with interested parties but remain undecided, their spokesmen said. Booker’s campaign last year, the most of any House or Senate candidate up for election that year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

Booker has been receptive to their point of view, they said. “This kind of near-blackmail, from such a well-known figure, only turns up the heat on an already raging controversy,” Rabbi Kulwin said.

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