Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he "profoundly disagrees" with the reasoning behind decisions by two prominent Democratic lawmakers to vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, reports The Associated Press (AP).
Speaking in the Vietnamese capital, Kerry said the facts do not bear out the arguments made by the Senate's No. 3 Democrat Chuck Schumer, and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel.
Kerry said he respects the right of lawmakers to make their own decisions about the merits of the deal, but said rejection does not offer any alternative than a drumbeat to conflict.
Schumer and Engel, both from New York, made their announcements on Thursday. Schumer is the first Democratic senator to say he will vote no on the deal, and he explained that “after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”
Kerry said he has great respect for both Engel and Schumer, and called Schumer a friend, noting he served with him in the Senate.
"I obviously profoundly disagree with the judgments made," Kerry said, according to AP. He added that with 25 years of uranium tracking, "it is physically impossible to build a bomb."
"It's a question of eliminating options in a realistic way," claimed Kerry. "I would respectfully suggest that rejection is not a policy for the future, it does not offer any alternative."
The Secretary of State warned that if the deal is rejected, "there will be a hue and cry about Iran's continued activity and that will lead people to put pressure on military action since the United States would have walked away from the diplomatic solution."
Schumer’s announcement comes several days after reports emerged that he would oppose the deal following a strenuous campaign pressuring him to do so.
More than 10,000 phone calls have flooded Schumer's office line the past two weeks, while another group has shelled out a seven figure sum for TV ads in New York City to pressure Schumer and other lawmakers to vote against the plan.
Also this week, leading Democratic Reps. Nita Lowey and Steve Israel, both of New York, and Ted Deutch of Florida announced their opposition to the Iran deal.
Congress continues to review the deal that was reached last month between Iran and six world powers and has until September 17 to accept or reject it.
Republicans have objected to the deal as not tough enough to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in the long run, while several Democrats have expressed support.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama came under fire this week for saying that opponents of the deal with Iran wanted war instead.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Obama's argument, saying it was "absurd" to argue that lawmakers must essentially choose between the agreement and going to war.
"It's not this deal versus war. That's the argument they've been making during the whole negotiation. It's either this deal or a better deal, or more sanctions," said McConnell.
Arguing that the choice is between diplomacy or some form of war is “an absurd argument,” he added.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) slammed Obama as well for saying Republicans are in the same camp with Iranian hardliners when they oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
"[The president] is trying to shut down debate by saying that those who have questions — legitimate questions, legitimate questions — are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in Iran," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said. “And again it is to shut down debate. It is to make this about something other than the merits of the deal."
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL), meanwhile, told Fox News that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have made a "flawed argument" in supporting the deal.
"Their argument was you either go with this deal or we’re going to war. But all during the negotiations…they said a different thing. They said ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’ And if you argue no deal is better than a bad deal, then you’re arguing implicitly that there was an alternative. And it’s a false claim now for the White House to say there’s no alternative but war."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)