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Sen. Carper says he'll vote for Iran nuclear deal

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s senior Senator has join the ranks of those backing the Obama Administration’s Iran nuclear deal

Sen. Tom Carper  (D-Delaware) says he will vote for the deal next month when Congress returns to session.

Carper indicated earlier this month he was “leaning yes,” but had concerns – including the ability to enforce the deal if the Iranian government fails to hold up its end.  Carper now says he believes the reach of U.S. intelligence is sufficient to know if Iran violates the deal.

He also says experts assure him it would be virtually impossible for Iran to hide covert program.

“When countries like Iran or anyone else [when] they are doing something of a nuclear nature, the ability to scrub it, to clean it to, to get rid of it – it’s like the stain that won’t go away," Carper told Delaware Public Media Friday morning. "There’s no way in the world the Iranians are scrub and the clean the place up and get rid of whatever evidence is there.  The isotopes, they just don’t go away.  So, I think that was comforting to me.”

Carper also pointed to conversations with past Israeli military and intelligence officials who back the deal as having an influence on his decision.

"As it turns out, there are scores of former Israeli military leaders - admiral, generals and a bunch of folks in their intelligence service - who have gone public and have said we think this is a pretty good deal.  Even though the prime minister of Israel [Benjamin Netanyahu] doesn't think so, we do.  We think its a good deal," said Carper. "They think its in the best interest of Israel to do this deal.  I found that very compelling."

Carper adds many top current and retired U.S. military and intelligence officials he talked to also support the agreement and their opinions were helpful in reaching a decision. 

Carper also notes that going back and getting a better deal is not an option.  He says other nations’ involved in the deal support it and would not sign on to continuing the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table if this deal is rejected.

"The pushback in those countries does not exist.  There's almost no opposition," said Carper.  "They've basically concluded this is a pretty good deal and why don't we give it a chance."

Delaware’s other senator, Chris Coons, has not indicated how he will vote, but is scheduled to do so Tuesday at the University of Delaware. 

Coons has been more vocally skeptical of the deal and the target of groups lobbying against the deal. Congressman John Carney has also yet to say how he will vote on the deal.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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