Kathleen Rice: Iran deal 'a risk I cannot support.'
Rep. Kathleen Rice announced Monday that she will oppose the Iran deal, calling it "a risk I cannot support."
Rice, a first-term congresswoman from Garden City, is the second New York Democrat to come out against the agreement between six countries, led by the United States, and Iran to limit its nuclear development, while easing sanctions against Tehran.
"I suspect this deal will pass," Rice wrote in an op-ed announcing her position in The 5 Towns Jewish Times, a weekly newspaper.
"I hope that history will ultimately prove President Obama right in his gamble on diplomacy and social progress in Iran," she wrote. "But for me, it is a risk I cannot support."
She added, "It's a gift of political legitimacy and economic empowerment that requires too little Iranian maturation across too little of its dangerous agenda. For the sake of peace, we can do better."
With Rice's announcement, the majority of Long Island's five representatives to the House say they'll vote no on the agreement next month.
Rice joins Republican Reps. Peter King of Seaford and Lee Zeldin of Shirley in pushing for the deal to be renegotiated.
Secretary of State John Kerry, however, testified before the House last week that if Congress rejects the deal, neither Iran nor the other five countries are likely to come back to the negotiating table.
Democratic Reps. Steve Israel of Huntington and Gregory Meeks of St. Albans said they are still reviewing the agreement. But Israel, a staunch supporter of the nation of Israel, said he's "skeptical" of the deal.
New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, also a longtime backer of Israel, and Kirsten Gillibrand have not said how they will vote.
"This is such an important decision that I will not let pressure, politics or party influence me," Schumer said Monday.
Democrats are being lobbied by President Barack Obama to vote for the agreement. But they say they also face heavy pressure from constituents and advocacy groups to oppose it.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) last week became the first New York Democrat to say she is against the Iran deal.
"Congresswoman Rice spent the last three weeks doing her homework, studying the agreement, talking to constituents and listening to smart arguments from both sides. Once she was confident she had reached the right decision, she let her constituents know where she stands," spokesman Coleman Lamb said.