Democratic Rep. Steve Israel offered up criticism of the Iran nuclear deal struck Tuesday, telling “Morning Joe” Wednesday that there is “nothing” that “alleviates my skepticism” of the accord.
Israel, who said that he had indeed read the entire deal yesterday, sounded pessimistic of the concessions made by U.S. negotiators, pointing specifically to the verification process and the lifting of the embargo on conventional arms and missiles.
“I read the joint comprehensive plan of action last night, over 100 pages,” Israel told co-host Mika Brzezinski. “I’ll be honest, I was skeptical going in. There is nothing that I read last night that alleviates my skepticism.”
“However, we fought for this 60-day period of review. I take that very seriously. So I will take every day of the next 60 days to continue to read every single word, sentence, paragraph, clause, to engage in classified and unclassified briefings, to as the tough questions and then I will make a final judgement,” Israel said. “Right now, as I said, there is nothing in the agreement that alleviates my skepticism. But I’m going to take the time necessary to cast my vote. At the end of the day, I will cast a vote that does one thing: that rids world of the menace of a nuclear-capable Iran.”
“There are some concerns that actually have escalated as a result of my first reading,” Israel continued. “Number one, the issue of the lifting of sanctions and the embargo on conventional arms and missiles. I don’t know why we are doing that. I do not want to empower Iran — make it easier for Iran to equip Hamas, Hezbollah and other bad actors.”
“Number two, the verification process. As I read this agreement, it seems to me that Iran actually has three weeks or more to determine whether they will allow IAEA inspectors on to specific sites,” Israel said. “That’s a far cry from what I understood to be anywhere, any time.”