Protesters joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Sen. Joe Lieberman and ex-CIA Director James Woolsey rallied outside the New York City offices of Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – urging the Democratic lawmaker to retract her support for a nuclear deal with Iran.
“[President Barack] Obama says you’re crazy if you vote no,” Graham, the South Carolina Republican and presidential candidate, told protesters who filled the Manhattan streets around Gillibrand’s office Tuesday.
“Let me tell you: You’re crazy if you vote yes,” Graham said.
According to the Daily Signal, Lieberman, a former Democrat from Connecticut, said that since the agreement was signed in the middle of July, “[Iran] still says at the highest level they’re going to continue to support terrorism, they’re going to annihilate Israel and death to America.”
“How can you make an agreement with a country that wants to kill you?” he asked.
The crowd chanted back “Change your vote!” the Daily Signal reports.
It was the second protest this summer by the Stop Iran Rally Coalition. Police estimated the crowd at 7,000, the Daily Signal reports. IBTimes reports 12,000 turned out for a rally in July.
“It’s not good for America, and it’s not good for Israel,” Avi Haar of Long Island, N.Y., said of the nuclear deal. “We’re going to try our best until the very end,” he told the IBTimes, noting the agreement was likely to pass.
Graham pointed out that, as chairman of the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, he oversees allocations of federal funds to the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which both support the plan.
He threatened to to financially strangle both groups unless they fight for a tougher deal that would force Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear infrastructure.
“You will not get a penny until you give us a better agreement,” he said, vowing to vote against the deal and propose further sanctions against Iran, the New York Observer reports.
“This is not over.”
Lawmakers have until Sept. 17 to vote on a “resolution of disapproval” that would weaken the international pact by eliminating Obama’s ability to temporarily waive many U.S. sanctions on Iran.