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

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James Dawson/Delaware Public Media
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Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) is the 33rd senator to announce his support for a U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.

 

“I am voting for this agreement because it is our most credible opportunity now to lead a global community in containing an existential threat while preserving America’s ability to use economic power and military might to successfully dismantle Iran’s nuclear program should diplomacy fail,” said Coons, speaking at the University of Delaware Tuesday afternoon.

 

Coons said it’s not the deal he had hoped for, but that it is a viable solution.

 

“Should the Iranians violate the agreement and move forward with nuclear weapons development, we are far more likely to detect it and be in a position to take decisive action with this agreement than without it,” Coons said.

 

He adds the alternative - the U.S. rejecting the deal and attempting to broker a new deal on its own - could foster instability, encourage Iran to race to produce a nuclear weapon or leave the United States at odds with European and Asian allies who have already ratified the deal.

 

"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,” noted Coons.

Delaware’s junior senator says he thought about delaying the announcement  of his decision until receiving a letter from President Obama Tuesday morning assuring him of further defensive support for Israel.

 

During a Senate hearing in July, Coons likened the deal to a marriage based on distrust, a view he still holds. But he says he's confident the United States can swiftly impose further economic sanctions while defending the country's interests abroad.

 

“We can do this through a combination of diplomacy and tough deterrents that gives our allies in the region the support to defend themselves and the confidence that if diplomacy fails, we will invoke military options to end it,” said Coons.

 

Still, Coons says he doesn’t expect the Iranian government to become more moderate and less hostile to America or Israel because of the deal.

 

The agreement reduces the amount of Iranian centrifuges enriching uranium, as well as their stockpiles of dangerous materials in exchange for lifting crippling economic sanctions.

 

President Obama says he will veto any Congressional attempt to block the negotiated deal, meaning he needs 34 votes in the Senate to prevent lawmakers from overriding him.

Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also announced Tuesday his intention to vote for the deal

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