Schumer: Don’t Trust European Nations to Conduct Iran Nuclear Inspections

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer / AP
August 12, 2015

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) sounded off on what he deemed the "fatally flawed" nuclear agreement with Iran Tuesday, asserting that the United States should not trust European nations to sufficiently inspect Tehran’s sensitive facilities.

The New York Post reported that Schumer following a speech at New York University expanded on his decision to oppose the nuclear deal, which he made public last week.

"There are parts to bomb-making that don’t involve nuclear isotopes," Schumer said Tuesday. "Even if you find nuclear isotopes [through inspections], you don’t know exactly what they are doing."

"You know, the Europeans, once they have these economic relationships with Iran—which we know they are very eager to have—are going to be reluctant to ask for an inspection, so I was troubled by that," added Schumer, who is the most influential Jewish member of Congress.

Multiple lawmakers have taken issue with the details surrounding inspections of Iran’s sensitive facilities, particularly pushing back at the secret side deals reached between reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization responsible for ensuring that Tehran abides by the stipulations in the deal.

The undisclosed agreements, of which there are at least two, have to do with the IAEA’s inspection of Iran’s Parchin military complex believed to have housed nuclear testing as well as the extent to which Tehran must admit to the details of its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Ninety-four House members, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), recently penned a letter to President Obama demanding he fulfill his "legal obligation" to provide Congress with details of the side deals.

Schumer, the first Senate Democrat to emerge publicly in opposition to the deal, also warned against the "snapback" provisions designed to reimpose sanctions should Iran cheat the deal, calling them "complicated and awkward."

Schumer has reportedly phoned dozens of his Democratic colleagues in order to explain his decision-making process regarding the nuclear agreement.

In the wake of his announcement last week, the White House immediately criticized Schumer, even suggesting that his opposition may prevent him from ascending to the top Democratic post in the Senate.

Schumer is a top contender to assume the position of Senate Democratic leader when Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) relinquishes the post in 2016.

At a recent Reuters event in New York, Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Schumer for his recommendation that the United States "go back and try to get a better deal."

"Are you kidding me?" Kerry said. "The United States is going to start sanctioning our allies and their banks and their businesses because we walked away from a deal? And we’re going to force them to do what we want them to do, even though they agreed to the deal we came to?"

Congressional lawmakers have 60 days--or until mid-September--to review the agreement. They would have to pass a resolution to kill the agreement, which would need two-thirds majority support in order to override a veto from Obama.

Currently, a majority of House members back a resolution to reject the deal with Iran. A significant majority of Americans also oppose the nuclear agreement.