NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Times Square Wednesday evening in protest over the recent landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, some 10 thousand are rallying in solidarity with signs and voices raised against the nuclear deal.
Protest organizers proclaim: “Washington is prepared to give Iran virtually all that it needs to get to the bomb. To release $150 billion to Iran will result in the expansion of worldwide terror.”
Former New York Governor, and Presidential contender, George Pataki joined the chorus of voices urging lawmakers to block the deal.
“Reject this deal. Protect America. Protect Israel and protect the world from freedom,” Pataki said.
The Stop Iran Rally Coalition — which claims to be a bi-partisan group — is also calling out Sen. Charles Schumer, saying he “has the votes as presumptive leader to override this deal….If this deal is not stopped, New York voters will know whom to blame.”
Sen. Schumer said in a statement Wednesday that he wasn’t ready to make a decision on the deal yet.
“I’ve read the agreement and I’m seeking answers to the many questions I have. Before I make a decision, I’m going to speak at length with experts on both sides,” the lawmaker said.
In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry led back-to-back, closed-door briefings, trying to sway lawmakers to approve the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
“We are convinced that the agreement that we have arrived at with world powers is an agreement that will prevent Iran from the potential of securing a nuclear weapon. It will make the region, our friends and allies safer, it will make the world safer,” Kerry said. “And we are convinced that the absence of any viable alternative absolutely underscores that fact.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. is fiercely lobbying lawmakers to reject the deal. And Republicans are pledging to do just that.
“Because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people, and we’re going to do everything possible to stop it,” said Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner.
And many at the rally said more people in the country need to start listening and speaking out as well.
“I’m very concerned about what our situation is here. Nobody wants this deal to go through and we’re hoping that Obama will hear the voice of the American people and we’re hoping that Congress will listen to what we have say. And hopefully we can do something about that,” said one protester.
“I feel people really don’t understand the main issue. To me the main issue is not what happens 10 years from now, but what happens as soon as the sanctions are removed from Iran,” another protester told Schneider. “Which is the main terrorist regime in the world, which spreads terrorism all around the world, which is responsible for the deaths of Americans as well as Israelis.”
Several academic, military, and political leaders will speak to the crowd Wednesday night. All of them urge that this is an issue that transcends politics and they’re urging Congress to keep sanctions against Iran, even if it means overriding President Barack Obama’s likely veto on any legislation against the deal, Schneider reported.
Congress has 60 days to approve or reject the deal. The Senate will hold a hearing on the deal Thursday.