Carper announces support for Iran nuclear deal

DOVER — Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., has announced he supports President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement.

The deal would impose limits on Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed on July 14 by the United States, other world powers and Iran.

Before it gains official U.S. approval, however, it must go through Congress. With the House and Senate both held by Republicans who have been fierce critics of the deal the proposal figures to be rejected.

However, President Obama would then veto that decision, sending the agreement back to Congress. Lawmakers would need a two-thirds majority vote to override the veto.

To cancel that veto, Republicans would have to sway 13 Democrats in the Senate. So far, just two Democratic

Sen. Thomas R. Carper

Sen. Thomas R. Carper

senators — New York’s Chuck Schumer and New Jersey’s Bob Menendez — have announced their opposition to the deal, while 30, according to The Hill publication, are backing it.

Sen. Carper became the latest Democratic member of the Senate to support the agreement. He said he made up his mind earlier this week.

“I spent lot of time meeting with folks, did a lot of reading, did a little bit of prayer and I’ve concluded this is the right thing to do,” he said. He also said he spoke with many diplomats and heard from a large number of constituents.

Delawareans who offered their opinions were divided, although some admitted they didn’t fully understand the complex deal, he said.

He added he is not concerned about Republican worries that Iran will simply ignore the prohibitions and will be able to develop a weapon quicker in the absence of sanctions.

“The beauty of this agreement is, if the Iranians have a covert nuclear program and cheat, we’ll know it,” he said.

“There’s enough intrusive intelligence and inspections.”

Should the United States determine Iran is violating the guidelines, it can place the sanctions back into effect. A military solution is still on the table, Sen. Carper said.

Now, the spotlight on Chris Coons, Delaware’s junior senator, intensifies.

Sen. Coons, also a Democrat, has been targeted as a potential “no” vote, someone who could vote with Republicans partly out of concern the deal could be a threat to Israel.

Sen. Coons is set to make an announcement Tuesday afternoon at the University of Delaware. A spokesman claimed the senator is currently undecided.

Sen. Carper was vague when asked what he thinks his Delaware colleague will do.

“I’m sure at the end of the day what he wants to do is what is right,” Sen. Carper said.

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