Top U.S. House Foreign Affairs Democrat will vote against Iran nuclear deal

U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks during a pro-Israel rally organised by local Jewish communities in front of New York City hall in New York July 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Thursday he has decided to vote to reject the nuclear deal with Iran.

In a statement obtained by Reuters, Engel said he had raised questions about his concerns about the deal during the negotiations and since the deal was announced on July 1.

“The answers I’ve received simply don’t convince me that this deal will keep a nuclear weapon out of Iran’s hands, and may in fact strengthen Iran’s position as a destabilizing and destructive influence across the Middle East,” Engel said.

A congressional aide said Engel would support a resolution of disapproval of the deal, and, if such a resolution were passed by Congress, would vote to override a veto by Democratic President Barack Obama.

Congress has until Sept. 17 to approve or reject the nuclear deal.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Eric Walsh