Politics

Rep. Steve Israel: I'm Still "Extremely Skeptical” Of Iran Deal Having Read All Of It

"Nothing that I have seen, read, or heard has alleviated any of the skepticism that I had initially."

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Democratic Rep. Steve Israel from New York said Tuesday that he is still "extremely skeptical" of the nuclear deal with Iran — even after attending three classified briefings and reading "every single word" of the agreement.

"I'm still extremely skeptical," Israel said Tuesday on L.I. in The AM. "Look this is going to be one of the most important, profound foreign policy, national security decisions we make and I want to make sure that we get this right."

"I've now gone through three classified briefings," added Israel. "I just read the classified annex to the deal. I've read every single word of the deal. I've convened meetings with experts on both sides of this issue. Nothing that I have seen, read, or heard has alleviated any of the skepticism that I had initially."

On Monday, fellow New York Democrat Kathleen Rice said she would vote against the agreement. Last week, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, said he thought the agreement would not stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Israel said that he has not made up his mind yet on how he will vote.

"However, I owe it my constituents," he concluded. "I owe it to my kids and I owe it to myself not to make an announcement based on optics, but to make an announcement based on my own understanding and my own reasoned arguments for and against the deal. As I said, my skepticism has not been relieved. I have a little bit more that I want to do. I have some questions outstanding, having read the classified annex of the report and once I get those answers I will announce my position."

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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