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Ex-Israeli general urges Sen. Coons to vote 'yes' on Iran deal

Delaware Public Media

Experts will be watching to see if Delaware Sen. Chris Coons will lend his much-needed swing vote to the Iran nuclear deal when he announces his position Tuesday afternoon.

As of late Monday, Coons would become the 32nd of the 34 Senate Democrats needed to uphold a presidential veto, should Congress reject the deal. Delaware's senior senator, Tom Carper, joined that tally last week.

Coons has offered a mixed stance on the deal, once calling it "built on distrust" but recently saying it has its positives. Retired Israeli Brigadier Gen. Uzi Eilam says that's a fair view, but:

"I think it is more promising and it is more wise to treat this agreement as a challenge, as a complex problem, but as something that could and should be successful," he says.

Eilam, who was Israel's director-general of atomic energy for 10 years, says the world will need to be vigilant to make sure Iran holds up its end of the bargain. But he doesn't see renegotiation as an option -- and hopes Delaware's junior senator will give this plan his support.  

"In my opinion, if Congress will not approve and the Presidential veto will not work, Russia and China will be there, England and France will be there, the Iranian will take whatever they do and the United States and Israel will remain without anything to do," Eilam says, referring to the "five-plus-one" nations that helped broker the deal.

Eilam also notes that the International Atomic Energy Agency could still find by the end of the year that Iran hasn't held up its end of the bargain, in which case the deal would be off.

Sen. Carper told Delaware Public Media last week he spoke to Israeli experts like Eilam -- and their opinion was part of the reason for his decision to back the deal.

Sen. Coons announces where he stands Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the University of Delaware.

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