Politics Magazine

Iran Deal Can't Be Stopped Now - 37 Senators On Board

Posted on the 04 September 2015 by Jobsanger
Iran Deal Can't Be Stopped Now - 37 Senators On Board
Wednesday was a great day for the president -- and for the people of the United States and Iran. It was a great day because there are now enough votes to support a presidential veto if the GOP tries to defeat the Agreement -- and that means there will be no war between the two countries (which was the only real alternative to the Agreement).
On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) announced that she will vote to support the Agreement with Iran. That gave the president 34 votes -- enough to defeat any effort to override his veto of a GOP bill to kill the agreement. An override would require 67 votes in the Senate, and 34 votes would prevent that. The 34 senators are shown in the graphic above.
Thursday brought even more good news. Three more senators announced they will vote to support the deal, bringing the total to 37. The three are Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Mark Warner (D-Virginia), and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey).
I'm sure the congressional Republicans will still try to kill the Iran Agreement, but it will just be a political move designed to please their right-wing war-loving base voters. The Agreement will go into effect regardless of what the GOP does.
Here is the statement made by Senator Heitkamp on why she now supports the Agreement:
The decisions Congress makes relating to our military and our relationships with other countries are some of the most important ones we make as U.S. Senators.
That’s why over the past few months, I’ve participated in dozens of meetings, briefings, and congressional hearings on the agreement. These meetings included classified intelligence briefings; updates from national security and non-proliferation experts; meetings with senior foreign diplomats from the countries that negotiated the deal; meetings with the White House, U.S. Energy Secretary, and other top Administration officials; discussions with other Senators; meetings with advocates on both sides of the issue; and conversations with North Dakotans. I also read the deal and its technical annexes in their entirety, which I also made easily accessible for North Dakotans to read for themselves.
I have spoken with all of the top diplomats of the countries that negotiated the deal with Iran — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia — and their view is unanimous: They will not go back to the bargaining table and attempting to do so would likely prompt the erosion of the sanctions regime. Sanctions only work if our allies maintain their sanctions as well — which is unlikely if the United States is seen as unilaterally walking away from a deal our allies are convinced makes the world safer. If we reject this deal, Iran will be closer to developing a nuclear weapon, and we will reduce our standing and authority in the world.
During my discussions with experts and top officials, I asked hard questions and got answers about how the United States and our allies will verify that Iran will not have access to weapons-grade nuclear material, how we will enforce this deal, and how quickly we will be able to identify if Iran cheats. Here are the facts I learned:
— Right now, even with sanctions punishing Iran, it is only two to three months away from having the material to develop a nuclear weapon.
— This agreement dramatically reduces the chances Iran ever acquires a nuclear weapon by taking concrete, verifiable steps to constrain Iran’s possible uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities.
— Iran will have to get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium and redesign its Arak heavy reactor so it is incapable of plutonium reprocessing, and won’t even have enough material to make a bomb.
— Iran will have to deactivate two-thirds of its centrifuges and abide by stringent restrictions on both enrichment and research and development.
— All of these commitments and many more will be verified through intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency of Iran’s known nuclear facilities, which the IAEA will have immediate access to, as well as international monitoring of Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain.
— Because of the international inspection and verification measures in the agreement, the United States and our allies will have much greater access to intelligence on Iran and its facilities. If Iran seeks to cheat using secret facilities, we will find out. Top experts have confirmed to me they will quickly be able to detect even the smallest traces of nuclear material. If the United States suspects Iran of cheating, neither Iran nor Russia nor China could prevent inspectors from receiving access anywhere in the country, including military facilities and covert sites.
— As part of the deal, Iran committed to never develop nuclear weapons and agreed to permanently abide by enhanced inspection protocols.
Based on these facts, I support the agreement because it is the best chance we have to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and keep America safe. It is not a perfect deal nor is this deal about trust — it’s about making sure we have in place the strongest mechanisms possible to accomplish our goal by holding Iran to the most sweeping concessions about its nuclear program it has ever made.
My decision is about seeking diplomacy rather than conflict. It’s about working with our allies to keep America and the world safe. It’s about learning lessons from the war in Iraq that we are better off when we build support and work with our allies than when we go it alone. After 15 years of American troops in the Middle East and American money spent on conflicts abroad, let’s give diplomacy a chance.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs, I played a role in imposing and monitoring the sanctions we currently have on Iran, and I know how effective they have been. Sanctions compelled Iran to make these concessions under the considerable pressure brought to bear by a unified international community. And they will not be lifted until Iran takes strong, specific, and verifiable steps — certified by the IAEA — to meet its obligations under the agreement. But sanctions have not and will not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran must never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. The United States is, and must always remain, prepared to use military force to prevent that from happening — and in no way have we taken military options off the table. Our ability to use military force if Iran races toward a bomb is not changed by this agreement. Under this deal, if Iran cheats, the rest of the world will have seen the limits of diplomacy in dealing with Iran and will be more likely to support strong, unified action against Iran.
Let’s be clear, Iran is a sponsor of terrorism and an abuser of human rights. This deal doesn’t change that. America’s terrorism sanctions will remain in place even if we agree to this deal. And the United States will continue to push back on Iran’s actions.
Earlier this year, I helped introduce legislation — which Congress passed — to make sure Congress votes on this deal. In addition, I will work hard to make sure that Congress continues to hold Iran’s feet to the fire by maintaining sanctions on its support for terrorism, malign influence in the Middle East, and violations of human rights. I will also continue to support enhanced security cooperation measures with our partners in the region that are threatened by Iran’s behavior. And, I will continue to press for an end to the decades-old ban on exporting U.S. oil to support America’s economic and energy interests, while helping contain Iran’s oil exports on the world market.
Taking all of this into consideration, it is my judgment that this deal is our best chance at preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and keeping Americans safe. It isn’t a perfect deal, but it is a good one. Americans deserve to see this deal through.

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