The Jewish Press claims that the rally was politically, ethnically, and religiously diverse, in terms of both attendance and the roster of speakers. These included self-described liberal Democrats like Alan Dershowitz as well as conservative Republicans, anti-extremist Muslim activists, and journalists.
Nevertheless, the event was reportedly made more partisan than was intended after several would-be Democratic speakers withdrew as a result of urging from their party leadership. Fierce lobbying and campaigning is taking place on both sides of the issue, and as much as 40 million dollars has been dedicated to efforts to help the Republican Congress to secure enough Democratic votes to overturn President Obama’s promised veto of congressional disapproval.
Organizers of the Times Square rally led participants in chants of “Where’s Chuck?” referring to New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, who is currently on the fence on this issue and is widely considered a lynchpin in the strategy to sway Democratic opinion.
In addition to this sort of citizen pressure on Schumer, he is being aggressively targeted by political figures in the US Senate and in New York State. Arutz Sheva reports that on Thursday, New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind was arrested along with eight other Jewish protestors for lying on the pavement in front of Schumer’s office as part of an effort to urge him to take a stand against the deal.
While Schumer has not yet announced a position, he has emphasized that he has been willing to defy President Obama in the past on matters of conscience, and that he would be willing to do so again if he came to a negative conclusion about the current deal.
Opponents of the deal have based their conclusions on a number of provisions that are regarded as groundless concessions to the regime. These include the permission of managed access to Iranian sites, especially military sites, as well as the decision to allow Iran to buy and sell conventions weapons and ballistic missiles on the open market after five and eight years, respectively.
In its live blogging of Thursday’s news, the Times of Israel reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that negotiators were never targeting the whole Iranian nuclear program, but only its weapons capability. This is out of step with the expectations of staunch opponents of the Iranian regime.
Kerry further said that a scenario of complete capitulation by the regime was merely a “fantasy.” But in a statement released Wednesday by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the opposition group emphasized that the regime has been in a highly vulnerable position for some time. The NCRI thus believes that if Western powers had stuck to a hard line in negotiations they could have forced the regime to abandon uranium enrichment altogether.
At Wednesday’s rally, Journalist Caroline Glick emphasized one point that she considered sufficient to make the deal unacceptable. She noted that it provides an immediate 150 billion dollar windfall to the Islamic Republic, which it is sure to use to further finance international terrorism.
This issue was also addressed in the political establishment on Wednesday when the House Financial Services Committee Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing held a hearing to examine how that money would flow to Iran, what the Islamic Republic was likely to do with it, and what the United States could do to re-impose restrictions in the event of violation.
NWA Online notes that Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the hearing that the consequences to human life and global security could be quite significant even if Iran uses only a portion of its cash windfall to supply and finance terrorist groups.