(JTA) – Former U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman is pressuring a top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, to block the Iran nuclear deal.
Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew who was a vice-presidential candidate in 2000, said in an interview that “Chuck is the key” to blocking the deal. Schumer also is Jewish.
“I just can’t believe Chuck Schumer will support this,” Lieberman, who served four terms representing Connecticut in the Senate, first as a Democrat and then as an Independent, said Sunday on a New York radio show, The Cats Roundtable, The Hill website reported. “How can you make a deal with somebody who says they want to kill you?”
Schumer, who is Jewish, reportedly is being pressured by the White House to back the deal and Israel to oppose it.
Lieberman said Schumer’s rejection of the deal “opens the way for a lot of other Democrats to oppose it as well.”
Schumer said Sunday that he is “studying [the agreement] very carefully.”
Lieberman has called on the White House to renegotiate the deal with better terms that also would better protect Israel.
The U.S. Congress has two months to consider whether to reject the deal reached July 14 between Iran and six major powers to roll back sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. Israel’s government says the deal does not go far enough and leaves Iran a nuclear threshold state.