Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Sunday said a nuclear-armed Iran would present the gravest “man-made” danger to American interests.
“I don’t think you can separate the two,” he added.
O’Malley, a likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, said climate change served as the worst environmental threat to national security. He said Tehran possessing atomic bombs, however, was still a preventable catastrophe.
O’Malley cited Maryland’s state sanctions on Iran’s economy under his tenure as one example of how he had already slowed Iran’s hunt for nukes. He also backed the use of diplomacy, citing the Obama administration’s ongoing talks with Tehran.
“I think we should support the president in achieving a negotiated settlement,” O’Malley added.
The Obama administration is racing toward a Tuesday deadline for a tentative deal with Iran on its nuclear research. O’Malley said on Sunday he disapproved of congressional meddling in the tense talks.
“If you hate the president so much you would rather support the ayatollah of Iran, you should probably not be in the United States Senate,” he said, referencing a divisive open letter 47 GOP senators sent Iranian leadership earlier this month.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday met with Iranian diplomats in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the last stage of nuclear negotiations.
The Obama administration hopes Iran will slow or stop its nuclear arms research in exchange for reduced economic sanctions.
Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are aiding the U.S. on its side of the bargaining table during the talks.
The U.S. wants a freeze on Iran’s nuclear weapons program for at least a decade. Iran has balked over this demand without immediate sanctions relief. A final deal between the two parties is due by June 30.