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Gillibrand says she believes enough Democrats will support Iran nuclear deal

Tom Magnarelli
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) at an event in North Syracuse on Tuesday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in North Syracuse on Tuesday and she responded to Sen. Charles Schumer’s decision to vote against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, which would lift U.S., China, Russia and European Union sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits put on Iran’s nuclear program.

Gillibrand sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and said she is for the Iran deal based on the national security information she has received.

Gillibrand said the deal would eliminate every path to a nuclear bomb and the three known nuclear facilities would be monitored daily along with the entire supply chain of nuclear production.  

“That is a huge benefit to the U.S. because if Iran breeches, we will have all the intelligence we need to take out their entire nuclear production accurately,” Gillibrand said.

The deal allows for a unilateral snapback of sanctions meaning if Iran breaks the deal, the sanctions can go back into place.

“U.S. sanctions while powerful are not crippling and we only were able to bring Iran to the table when it was U.S. plus E.U. plus China plus Russia and we don’t have their support to go back to the negotiating table," Gillibrand said. "I asked every single ambassador if they would go back to the negating table if we rejected the deal and they all said no.”

Gillibrand said if the U.S. steps away from the deal, hardliners in Iran will say the U.S. was never sincere and may reject additional negotiations.

Gillibrand said she does not think the decision by Schumer, her fellow senator from New York, to vote against the deal will put pressure on her or other Democrats and she believes there is enough support to sustain the deal.

Some of the reasons Schumer gave for his decision included the 24-day delay of inspections of suspected nuclear sites and questions about what happens after 10 years of no sanctions, when Iran is financially stronger. The U.S. says Iran is an active state sponsor of terrorism.

Congress will vote on the Iran deal in September.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.