Middle East

Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that he would support the Iran nuclear deal, despite deep concern that Iran would not hold up its end of the bargain.

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

September 1, 2015

WASHINGTON — President Obama all but clinched victory for his Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, as two Democratic senators threw crucial support behind the landmark accord.
The announcements by the senators, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware, came a week before the Senate was to formally debate a Republican resolution disapproving the agreement between Iran and six world powers. Mr. Obama would veto any such resolution, and with further announcements of support for the accord expected as soon as Wednesday, any move to override him would almost certainly fail.
Mr. Coons’s decision in particular is likely to have resonance with the few remaining undecided Democrats. As an outspoken member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he expressed grave concerns about the deal before ultimately deciding any alternative would be far worse.
Despite the continuing rancor on Capitol Hill, there was also growing recognition, even among some accord opponents, that the other nations — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and especially Iran — would be unwilling to renegotiate the agreement even if Congress formally rejected it.

The pledges of support by Mr. Casey and Mr. Coons meant the White House was just one vote short of the 34 needed to prevent a disapproval resolution from becoming law. Supporters of the agreement are now hoping to secure 41 votes to filibuster the resolution, ensuring the accord can be implemented without the drama of a presidential veto negating the will of Congress.
In most cases, however, the support has been far less than enthusiastic as lawmakers have confronted one of the most deeply divisive policy debates of modern times, with the security of Israel and the stability of the Middle East potentially at stake.
Mr. Casey, who announced his decision in a 17-page memo including a page and a half of footnotes, said in an interview that he still had many deep reservations, especially doubts that Iran would keep up its end of the bargain. But he said he ultimately concluded that it was in the national security interests of the United States to support the agreement.
“This agreement will substantially constrain the Iranian nuclear program …Read More