Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, announced today that they will be supporting President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.
In a joint statement, Reed and Whitehouse said the agreement is the best way to ensure that Iran does not manufacture nuclear weapons.
Reed said he supports the deal, ``because it cuts off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and gives international inspectors unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and supply chains.’’
Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also cautioned against listening to the campaign rhetoric of opponents of the agreement, which trades an end to economic sanctions against Iran for oversight of Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
``As this debate continues, I urge Americans to pay less attention to overheated rhetoric and instead listen to our leading scientists, active and former military officers, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and non-partisan experts who’ve studied the facts and concluded that this agreement is stringent, technically sound and is the most effective means available of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,’’ said Reed.
Reed also noted that he voted against the Iraq War, which ``empowered Iran and continues to destabilize the region.’’
Whitehouse’s arguments echoed those used by President Obama. ``Short of war, with all its dramatic uncertainties and terrible costs, I do not se another pathway to impose a nuclear-weapons free Iran.’’
``If within Iran, a freer and more liberal society can emerge from the grip of the ayatollahs, and if strong international pressure can be brought to bear to contain Iran’s continuing mischief in the surrounding Middle East, there is at least the prospect of this becoming an historic turning point,’’ said Whitehouse.
Both chambers of Congress are likely to vote by mid-September on a `resolution of disapproval’ expressing that Congress is against the deal. The measure would then be the subject of a presidential veto. At least 34 senators would have to vote in support of the president’s position to sustain a veto.
In recent days, some Democratic senators, including Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Mendenez of New Jersey, have said they will vote against the agreement, so Reed and Whitehouse have emerged as important White House allies on this issue.