Dingell, Stabenow voice support for Iran Deal

Monday, August 24, 2015 - 6:30pm

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor), along with several members of Michigan's congressional delegation on Monday, announced support for the Obama administration's proposed deal with Iran. 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — an agreement reached in April between China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the U.S., the European Union and Iran — aims to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to ensure the country’s nuclear program will be directed at purely peaceful purposes in the future. As part of the plan, Iran agrees to cut back its nuclear program if economic sanctions against the country are lifted.

“We are faced with this decision because of Iran’s defiance of the international community through the pursuit of a covert nuclear program that has left nations and people throughout the world deeply concerned about the threat this poses to world peace,” Dingell said in a press release. 

Members of Congress have until mid-September to approve the agreement after they return from their summer recess on Sept. 8.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) also announced their support Monday, leaving Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich) as the only Michigan Democrat who has not yet voiced an opinion. Thus far, every Democrat in Michigan’s congressional delegation has supported the agreement.

Stabenow's, Dingell's and Lawrence’s announcements come one day after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) publicized his support for the deal.

In a press release, Dingell called the vote one of the most serious in the nation’s history.

She acknowledged concerns with trusting Iran, but added that the JCPOA is based on verification, not trust.

“If the deal goes forward, both the uranium and plutonium pathways to a bomb will be cut off, and we will have unprecedented insight and access to the Iranian nuclear program,” she said.  “If they cheat, we will know it, and current sanctions will snap back into place.  And as President Obama has consistently said, nothing in this agreement takes the military option off the table if Iran’s violations were ever to reach that level.”

She said she would support the deal because she sees no other viable, realistic opportunities and that abandoning the President in his venture would hurt the United States diplomatically.

In a statement, Stabenow also voiced concerns about the deal, but said ultimately the Iranian regime’s backing of terrorist organizations and treatment of Americans was instrumental in her decision to support the agreement.

"The only thing worse than Iran being the largest state sponsor of terrorism would be Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism with a nuclear weapon,” she said. “That's why getting this right is essential for the security of America, Israel and the entire Middle East.”

According to CNN, all 54 Senate Republicans are expected to vote against the agreement, leaving it four votes shy of approval.

However, to successfully override a presidential veto of the rejection of the deal and ensure it isn’t enacted would require the 54 to be joined by six Senate Democrats to create a two-thirds majority.

As of now, only two Senate Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), have announced they will oppose the deal, though multiple senators remain undecided, including Peters.

Critics of the nuclear agreement argue that Iran cannot be trusted to adhere to the components of the plan, such as random inspections of the country’s nuclear enrichment plants, and that the country may use what it gains in sanctions relief to fund terrorist organizations.

They cite the agreement as legitimizing Iranian leadership in the Middle East and failing to entirely dismantle its nuclear program to the potential detriment of American allies in the region.