Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said he is prepared to vote for additional sanctions against Iran if the Islamic Republic does not reach a political framework agreement with its Western negotiating partners by a March 24 deadline, according to a statement that was first obtained by JNS.org.
Schumer-a co-sponsor of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, the Iran sanctions bill initiated by U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)-called a nuclear Iran “a huge threat to the United States and an existential threat to Israel.”
“I agree with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu that a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel,” Schumer said. “One nuclear weapon, hurled from Iran to Israel, could end the Jewish state and could kill almost as many Jews as did Hitler. A successful deal will not be a middle-of-the-road compromise, but a deal that removes any possibility of Iran being able to use nuclear weapons.”
He added, “A nuclear Iran could send weapons to Saudi oil fields, destroying them and sending the world economy into chaos, and could poison our atmosphere. A nuclear Iran would further destabilize an already-volatile region, and fuel more aggressive support of Iranian-backed terror organizations. To those who say Iran is not going to use a weapon, I say: if there is only a 10 percent chance Iran uses a nuclear weapon, it is vital we prevent it.”
President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the new Iran sanctions bill if it passes in Congress. Schumer said he has been “one of the leaders in pushing the toughest possible sanctions against Iran.”
“A nuclear Iran is an unacceptable scenario,” said Schumer. “I believe the only way Iran will voluntarily stop their march for nuclear weapons is if they know that tougher and tougher sanctions will be enacted if they fail to come a strong agreement that prohibits them from obtaining nuclear weapons. The only thing that brought Iran to the table were strong sanctions, not the goodness of their hearts. … If Iran does not come to an agreement by March 24, I stand ready to vote for additional sanctions.”
Following the March 24 deadline for a framework agreement, the deadline for a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (a group that includes the U.S.) is June 30.