Sen. Tim Kaine reiterated his support for President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, on Tuesday, the same day two of his Democratic colleagues announced their support for the deal as well. Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who said they’d studied the agreement closely and talked it over with experts and concluded that, warts and all, it would advance U.S. goals.
Two Senate Democrats oppose the pact, along with the overwhelming majority of Republicans in the chamber. In the Senate, at least 60 senators in opposition are needed to pass a resolution of disapproval, which President Obama has promised to veto.
In a statement released from his office, he acknowledged the deal brokered in part by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry carried certain risks that would require “vigilance, verification and cooperation” from the global community to mitigate, including a foreign policy that upholds remaining arms embargoes.
Their votes provide momentum to the deal’s supporters within the Democratic caucus and raise questions over whether enough Democrats will defect for a vote to be held at all.
The avalanche of Democrats coming out to support Obama’s decision on the deal in recent days raises the prospect that Republicans may fail to pass a vote of disapproval at all.
The agreement among the U.S., Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russian Federation and China would lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran’s agreement not to build nuclear weapons.
The American public appears sharply polarized along party lines on the subject.
That vote puts President Obama on the brink of a major diplomatic breakthrough that will allow him to fully implement the controversial deal over the objections of the Republican-led Congress.
“The vice president, whom I trust on these issues and whom I think has been an unshakeable friend of Israel for his entire political career, I relied on his guidance”, Coons said.
“Your decision on the agreement has to be reactive, or responsive to that reality”, Casey said.
Opponents to the nuclear agreement with Iran, including Israel, say Iran will immediately use the money to bolster its military and support terror groups.
Coons, in a speech at the University of Delaware, expressed deep skepticism of the deal’s flaws – “Frankly, this is not the agreement I had hoped for”, he said – but he saw no credible alternative and real damage from nixing the agreement.
“We’ve been in discussions with the Israeli government for months now about the importance of us getting back on track in working together to enhance our security cooperation”, he said, adding that “we have to stop Iran from sending weapons and missiles to Hezbollah”.
“This deal blocks every way, every pathway Iran might take to obtain a nuclear weapon”, said Obama during the 50-minute webcast, which was filmed live from the White House.
Obama characterized the debate over the deal with Iran in the United States and Israel as a family fight.