Town, county Dems write to feds against Iran deal

Justine Schoenbart

Democratic Town of North Hempstead officials and Nassau County legislators led by Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth on Monday signed a letter urging federal representatives to oppose the Iran nuclear development program.

“We have come to the conclusion that the approval of this deal will not be good for the United States or for Israel and we urge you to vote against it. We appeal to you to do so in the interests of our own national security, the survival of Israel, the security and stability of the Middle East region, and to ensure a world that is free of the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran,” the signatories wrote.

In addition to Bosworth, the signatories included Town Councilman Peter Zukerman, Receiver of Taxes Charles E. Berman, Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, and Town Clerk Wayne Wink as well Nassau County legislators Ellen Birnbaum, Judith Jacobs, and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton.

Steven Markowitz, vice president of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, said the letter was drafted after he raised concerns about the potential impact that the Iran nuclear deal could have on the fall election for local officials at a committee meeting last Saturday.

“We need to make sure this doesn’t become an election issue in the fall for our candidates,” said Markowitz, who also serves as the president for the Great Neck Democratic Club. “The election should be about local issues, not about Israel and Iran.”

Elected officials at the meeting concluded that they could take action by collectively writing to national representatives to express their own feelings and the feelings of those they represent in the community on the deal, he said.

Markowitz said many elected officials, particularly in Great Neck and Roslyn, have been questioned about where they stand on the Iran nuclear deal. He said community members have also expressed their concerns on the impact that deal will have on national security and Israel.

“It’s quite obvious that none of these officials have any role in international foreign policy, but they felt compelled to really take a look at the issue,” he said.

Bosworth said the main motive for writing the letter was not the fall election, but instead to voice the concerns of community members to the federal representatives.

“We have excellent working relationships with our federal representatives,” Bosworth said. “It seems only natural in a very rare incident that so much concern has been articulated about an issue, that I and other officials want to make sure that we communicate that to other representatives, and that’s what we have done.”

She said the purpose of the letter is to make clear to the federal representatives “the tremendous amount of concern here on a local level.”

Markowitz said the letter was drafted by some of the elected officials at the meeting. Bosworth said all of the letter’s signatories provided input.

In the letter, town officials and county legislators said that even without polls, they are aware many residents in their community are opposed to the deal.

“In the Town of North Hempstead, we have a highly educated and informed community, including a large number of residents who are originally from Iran, who know and understand the situation in that country and mentality of its leaders,” they wrote.  “In addition, ours is a diverse and inclusive community and has always been strongly supportive of and concerned about the security of Israel, the country most threatened by Iran.”

“We have reviewed expert analyses and information, and observed the hearings that have begun in Washington,” the letter continues. “We have listened closely to the people we represent. We have come to the conclusion that the disadvantages and dangers that will result if this deal is consummated far outweigh any positive benefits.”

Markowitz said that through rallies and meetings, members of the community have expressed their frustration regarding the proposed deal and feel that they are not getting clear answers from their federal representatives.  

“Individuals and organized groups have been pounding on Steve Israel, Sen. Schumer, and Sen. Gillibrand,” he said.

“We just want there to be no ambiguity about where they stand,” Markowitz said.

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Justine Schoenbart

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