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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Thousands of concerned New Yorkers gathered in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday evening, September 1 to rally in front of the offices of Senator Kirsten Gilllibrand, in a show of solidarity against the Iran nuclear deal that both chambers of Congress will be voting on in the weeks to come. As the crowd swelled at the well publicized rally organized by the Stop Iran Rally Coalition and the Jewish Rapid Response Coalition, long time Jewish activist Jeff Wiesenfeld welcomed the attendees as he served as the master of ceremonies for the proceedings.

“We are here tonight to show Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Jerry Nadler and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz that billions of unfrozen assets will end up in the hands of Iranian mullahs for the express purpose of killing and maiming innocent people,” declared Mr. Wiesenfeld in a voice reverberating with resoluteness.

The Iran nuclear deal is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“I know Gillibrand as she was an aide to former Senator Al D’Amato and let me tell you that she has betrayed the legacy of D’Amato and she has betrayed the people of New York,” he added.

The mere mention of Gillibrand’s name elicited a barrage of jeering and booing since she supports the deal, which would end sanctions against Tehran in exchange for a ten-year hiatus on nuclear development.

Wiesenfeld also exhorted Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to start “rounding up the votes” against the deal in Congress and to let the world know that this deal guarantees that that “the bomb will be delivered to Iran along with revenue to fund terrorism.”

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware on Tuesday became the 32nd and 33rd senators to announce support for the deal, just one shy of the 34 votes needed to uphold an Obama veto of Republican legislation aimed at blocking the agreement.

“This agreement will substantially constrain the Iranian nuclear program for its duration, and compared with all realistic alternatives, it is the best option available to us at this time,” Casey said in a statement. In remarks at the University of Delaware, Coons said: “I will support this agreement despite its flaws because it is the better strategy for the United States to lead a coalesced global community in containing the spread of nuclear weapons.”

Earlier Tuesday Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, predicted that Obama would get to 34 votes by week’s end.

With great pride, Wiesenfeld introduced Ken Stethem, a former US Navy SEAL whose brother Robert Stethem, also a Navy Seal, was kidnapped, along with 39 other passengers on TWA Flight 847, then tortured and shot by the Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah in 1984.

“My brother Robert sacrificed his life for his fellow passengers, for his Navy and for his nation. His memory is of honor, courage and conviction. Mine is a Navy family. We have seen terrorism personally and professionally. We are here to honor the other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. They have lost their liberty, their limbs, their loved ones and their lives. We ask that you remember their loss,” he said.

Mr. Stethem blasted the Iran deal by calling the rogue regime a “terrorist nation.” He added that it was unconscionable for congressmen and women to “reward evil men from evil regimes who are performing evil acts.”

Also taking the podium was retired US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett, who was gravely injured by an Iranian bomb in Iraq in 2005, and is the recipient of 12 military awards including a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Absolutely livid at the fact that Iran is slated to be the recipient of $150 billion in unfrozen assets that are in US banks, Sgt. Bartlett said, “If we (the US) had that kind of money we could stamp out terror. Meanwhile, our defense budgets are getting drastically reduced. The world is on fire now. Can you just imagine how many suicide vests Iran can purchase for their terrorists proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah with that money? And their intended purpose is to kill Americans and Israelis and we all know that that is the case,” he ruefully observed.

Sari Singer and Daniel Miller were both victims of terror in Israel. Miller had filed suit against his Iranian backed assailants in court in attempts to publicly make known where their assets were so that other terror victims could also be compensated for damages suffered.

“I will never forget the image of the bomber in my face shouting Allahu Akbar,” recalled Miller in his address at the rally. “I am here today for the child that has not yet lost his parents. The administration will tell you that this deal does not support terror, but it does. The money that Iran is expected to receive will not go to build roads and museums, that I can assure you of,” he added.

The featured speakers at the rally, namely, GOP Presidential candidate and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman both called on their Democratic colleagues in congress to reassess their decision to throw their support behind the controversial deal with Iran.

“President Obama says the ‘crazies’ will vote no. Let me tell ya, you’re crazy if you vote yes,” Graham told the crowd. “You’re crazy to give the ayatollah $100 billion; you’re crazy to give him a pathway to the bomb, and you’re crazy to give him the missile to deliver it.”

Graham threatened to cut off funding for the United Nations, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency, “until they let us look at this deal.” “The marriage from hell is about to occur,” Graham warned. “This is the biggest miscalculation since Munich! We’re going to fight back against radical Islam.”

Remembering the lessons of the Holocaust, Senator Graham told the rally attendees that, “Never again will we sit on the sidelines and watch another 9/11 occur without fighting back. We will walk together and fight back against radical Islam; we’re going to do what we did not do in the ’30s. We’re going to stand up, and we are going to get it right this time.”

Speaking to reporters after the rally, Senator Graham said that he’s concerned that the White House would get enough votes to block the GOP from getting 60 votes to disapprove the deal.

Former Senator Joe Lieberman chided the party to which he had displayed his fealty for decades. “What has happened to the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy that I joined and signed up for a long time ago – a party that believed you could be progressive on social issues and follow a strong a muscular foreign policy? How could anyone, reasonably, support such an agreement?”

Lieberman said that “This agreement supports our foes and opposes our friends” and ran through the list of terrorist attacks for which Iran is responsible, saying “they are going to annihilate Israel. How can you make an agreement with a country that wants to kill you?” Lieberman asked. “This agreement is full of holes.”

Extending his thanks to colleague Senator Chuck Schumer for “having the courage to oppose this agreement from the get-go, Senator Lieberman said that opponents of the deal “still have a chance” to get enough votes to override the president’s veto, although he acknowledged that the odds are not “great.”

Addressing Senator Gillibrand’s decision to support the deal, Senator Lieberman issued his own personal plea. “Look inside your heart, look inside your head, and look at the facts that have come out since you declared you were for it. Do what is reasonable and courageous, and change your vote.”

Former CIA Director James Woolsey warned of Iranian imperialism. “They control a major chunk of Yemen, they control major chunk of Iraq, they control Lebanon, they are moving in a direction to dominate that part of the world. This agreement is a very, very bad agreement because it has so many loopholes like letting the Iranians do the inspections on itself,” he declared.

Woolsey added that he is “a lot better getting inside the heads of terrorists and directors than the heads of voters and politicians.” Instead of the deal on the table, he would “take every sanction that we have had over Iran, do everything we can to double it, triple it, magnify it, because that’s what was getting their attention. Call off this agreement,” he said, “it’s unfixable.”

Other notable personalities who addressed the rally were Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Holocaust survivor Sami Steigmann, Rebecca Yousefzadeh Sassouni, an Iranian-American lawyer, Fred Fleitz, a senior vice president at the Center for Security Policy who also served as chief of staff to former UN envoy John Bolton, Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Security Analyst Frank Gaffney and radio talk show hosts David Webb, Mike Gallagher and Kevin McCullough.

The speakers berated the Obama administration — and particularly Secretary of State John Kerry — for what they described as rank capitulation to an odious regime that oppresses its people and exports terrorism throughout the Middle East.

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has taken a leading role in persuading members of Congress to defeat the Iran deal said that, “Thanks to President Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. There is a sign here saying that the Ayatollahs send their thanks to the US. Well, they have a lot to be thankful for. They are getting a cash windfall that they never thought possible because of this outrageous deal and the ability to have a faster breakout time on a nuclear weapon.”

The event was billed as a unifying show that represents the majority of the American public that opposes the deal with Iran, but the sectarian tenor was unmistakable. The most immediate threat, many said, faces Israel. Iranian leaders are on record vowing to annihilate Israel, and most if not all of the speakers said the mullahs ought to be taken at their word. No alternative to the deal that was struck between the United States, European powers, and Iran on July 14 was mentioned, and chants of “Kill The Deal” and “Change Your Vote” filled the air.