In the run-up to the Congressional vote on the Iran nuclear deal, a full page ad in The New York Times rebutting arguments from pro-Israel opponents of the deal, who want the U.S. to re-negotiate, warning the current agreement could lead to a nuclear armed Iran. But 11 former members of Congress — all democrats and Jewish — took out the ad saying the deal actually halts the immediate threat of a nuclear armed Iran. One of them is former eight term Representative Steve Rothman. He told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that he supports the deal and that it is the best way to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons.
“Well first I’m a pro-Israel advocate who supports this deal because it is the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” said Rothman. “And at the same time allowing the United States and the world, including Israel, all of its military options and diplomatic options in the event Iran might want to cheat.”
In order to prevent Iran from possibly cheating on the deal, Rothman said that there are unprecedented inspections and provisions in the agreement than there have been in any other agreement of its kind. He said that the United States deserves to have all of its military options, as well as diplomatic options. Rothman said that about 90 countries support the agreement as a diplomatic means to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
“We should pursue this and if Iran cheats or violates the agreement, we have all of our options, but we should go ahead. It’s in America’s and Israel’s national security interest,” Rothman said.
He said that the Iran deal wouldn’t be the first time pro-Israel folks disagreed about something. He and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin are in support of the deal.
According to Rothman, he decided to step back into the spotlight after people have asked him for his thoughts on the Iran deal.
“I came back because lots of people asked me, ‘Steve what do you think about this deal? Is this something that is in America’s interest and in Israel’s interest because others are saying it’s not.’ And I have spent so many weeks and months examining this agreement and talking to experts on both sides, and came to the opinion this is very much in America’s national security interest and in Israel’s and it would be awful if I just kept my mouth shut and didn’t share my view. Especially since people asked,” Rothman said.
Meanwhile Sen. Cory Booker still remains undecided on the Iran nuclear deal. Rothman said that he hopes Booker votes in favor of the agreement.
“I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Cory, for Senator Booker, and I hope he votes in favor of the agreement,” said Rothman. “As you know the Republican members of the Senate, all but one so far have announced they’re against it and we’re looking for enough democratic votes to either sustain a presidential veto or remove the need for a presidential veto. I hope Senator Booker votes for it. I believe it’s in the interest, best interest of the U.S. and Israel.”