Schumer, onetime opponent, praises talks on reviving Iran nuclear deal as ‘good’
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who famously broke with then President Barack Obama over striking a nuclear deal with Iran, says he now supports the discussions the Biden administration is having with Iran and allies to revive the defunct agreement.
“I think that having discussions on this issue is important,” Schumer said when asked about the new effort to revive the nuclear deal that collapsed after President Trump pulled the United States out of it in 2018.
Schumer explained that he voted in 2015 against the Iran nuclear deal that then-President Obama crafted with European allies because he thought there were “problems” with it.
But he now supports Biden’s efforts to re-establish the agreement and has urged the administration to address what he saw as the problematic elements of the original deal.
“There were problems with the Iran deal originally and many of us have urged in these discussions the Biden administration deal with those problems but I think the discussions are important and good,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday.
Schumer voted to advance a motion of disapproval on the original deal in September of 2015, along with several other Democrats including Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
The measure failed after Democrats filibustered it, saving Obama from having to issue a veto.
“To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great,” Schumer said nearly seven years ago, explaining his opposition to the deal.
Schumer, however, later criticized Trump for terminating the deal.
In 2017, he admitted having misgivings about the nuclear deal but said it should be given time to work.
“I had a great deal of misgivings about the Iran nuclear deal. I voted against it but now we ought to see, give it time to work,” he said at a press conference at the time.
That stance drew an angry jab from Trump, who tweeted in October of 2017: “Dem Senator Schumer hated the Iran deal made by President Obama, but now that I am involved, he is OK with it. Tell that to Israel, Chuck!”
The Biden administration has worked assiduously in recent months to revive the nuclear deal and senior officials told media outlets that it was up to Tehran to make it work.
The New York Times reported last month that “an agreement is within reach after nearly a year of talks,” citing diplomats familiar with the negotiations.