Peters announces support for Iran deal

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 12:35pm

Sen. Gary Peters (D—Mich.) speaks to supporters on election night in 2014.

Sen. Gary Peters (D—Mich.) speaks to supporters on election night in 2014. Buy this photo
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Sen. Gary Peters (D–Mich.) announced his support for the Obama administration’s proposed deal with Iran on Tuesday, largely sealing the chance that the deal will pass a congressional review period without a resolution against it.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D–Ore.) and Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.) also announced support Tuesday. Those votes bring the total number of supporters to 41, which is the minimum required to filibuster a GOP-led push to pass a resolution of disapproval against the deal and block its passage. 

Congress is expected to vote on the resolution later this month. The deal does not require congressional approval, but could have been derailed by the resolution against it.  

In a lengthy statement, Peters called the deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the most consequential decision he has faced as a member of Congress.

The administration's deal restricts Iran’s ability to have a nuclear program through blocking most of its ability to enrich uranium and maintain the equipment needed to create nuclear weapons, as well as requiring it submit to external inspections. In exchange, the U.S., along with several other world powers, will drop certain economic sanctions against the country.

He cited multiple criticisms of JCPOA, including concerns about Iran’s remaining ability to enrich some uranium and the release of millions in frozen Iranian assets, but said he saw no realistic alternative.

“Despite my serious reservations, I will reluctantly vote against a motion of disapproval because I believe that doing so will protect the credibility of the United States to hold Iran accountable to adhere to every single obligation in the JCPOA,” Peters said. “But if Iran fails to meet its international obligations under this accord, I will support the immediate reinstatement of Congressional sanctions, and I will encourage my colleagues in Congress to do the same.”

He applauded the inclusion of external inspections in the deal, and also called for increased sanctions and efforts against Iran in several arenas.

“The JCPOA is not the end of our multilateral efforts against Iran and its illicit behavior,” Peters said. “America must continue working with our allies to initiate multilateral sanctions against Iran for its terrorist activities, especially for its funding of Hezbollah and Hamas. We also need to set clear understandings of how Iran will be sanctioned for minor violations that won’t initiate the snapback of full sanctions.”

Sen. Stabenow (D–Mich.), as well as the rest of the Democrats in Michigan’s Congressional delegation, have already announced support for the deal. Many Michigan Republicans have announced opposition.

Peters, Wyden and Blumenthal were several of the last senators to announce positions on the deal.