Israeli ambassador: Iran deal still ‘a danger to the world’ (LISTEN)
It's looking like a lock.
Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced she'd support the controversial nuclear deal between world powers and Iran — giving President Barack Obama's administration enough votes to keep Congress from overriding it.
As Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, spoke with Eric Scott of Townsquare Media's New Jersey 101.5 Wednesday, he acknowledged that political reality — even if he didn't much like it (listen to the full interview above).
The deal, Dermer told Scott, is "a danger to the region and a danger to the world. This decision today and this announcement doesn't change that."
Under the deal, Iran would be forced to limit its nuclear activity and be subject to international inspections meant to ensure compliance. In exchange, longstanding economic sanctions on Iran would be lifted.
Critics — including the Israeli government — say that legitimizes Iran's nuclear activity, giving it funding needed to support aggression and giving it a path to building a nuclear bomb. Supporters say its the inspections regime that will prevent Iran from getting a bomb and note sanctions can snap back into place if it doesn't comply.
Dermer told Scott Wednesday that while the deal may go through — Obama now has enough votes that if legislators shoot down the deal, he can veto their disapproval without being overridden — the majority of legislators are still opposed. And he said the "overwhelming majority of the American people seem to think this is a very bad deal."
"They remember what Iran is. They haven't forgotten that Iran has been at war with the United States for the last 36 years," he said.
It's if Dermer's read on public sentiment is accurate — it seems to depend on who you ask. In a new survey from the University of Maryland, 55 percent of respondents said Congress should back the deal, though many had reservations. But University of Quinnipiac poll released just days ago showed Americans against the deal by rougly nearly 2-1 margin. Several surveys have shown a deep partisan divide.
"I hope as people look more and more into this deal and more and more information comes out about the problems associated with this deal, maybe some people will reconsider their votes," Dermer said.
In any case, he said, if — and perhaps when — the deal goes through, the U.S.-Israeli relationship will remain strong. And he said that will be essential to facing serious challenges in the Middle East.
"Sometimes even the best of friends can disagree on the way to advance our security," he said.