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War veteran Dem backs Iran deal
A freshman House Democrat who served four tours in Iraq announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal Saturday.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) called the diplomatic accord "the best course of action to prevent a nuclear Iran."
While he said the deal was not perfect, it was "by far the best viable option before us."
Moulton's endorsement marks the latest in a series of prominent Democrats to throw their support behind President Obama's efforts. The president is trying to line up enough Democratic support to ensure that lawmakers are not able to shoot down the agreement.
Republicans are expected to broadly oppose the agreement, so it falls to Democrats, particularly in the House, to ensure that opposition does not reach the two-thirds majority needed to override an Obama veto.
Republicans have been quick to criticize the deal, calling it a fundamentally flawed effort that is not tough enough and puts the region, particularly Israel, at risk.
Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the longest serving Jewish member of Congress, endorsed the deal earlier this month.
Moulton directly cited his military experience in explaining his support for the deal, saying he knows as well as anyone the threat Iran poses to Americans.
"As a combat veteran who has seen fellow Americans killed in Iraq by the weapons and influence of the Iranian regime, I understand firsthand the threat Iran poses to America and our allies," he said to open a lengthy statement.
He said after reviewing the deal, he believes its terms are sufficiently verifiable and enforceable, allowing the U.S. and its allies to monitor Iran's nuclear efforts. And even if Iran does decide to violate the terms of the agreement and try to build the nuclear weapon, he argued that the U.S. will be in a better position to challenge that effort with the deal in place than without.
Moulton went on to say the two major alternatives to the deal, military action or further economic sanctions, are no better options than the one before lawmakers.
He argued that military action would only temporarily delay Iran's nuclear efforts, while at the same time reaffirming their resolve to develop a nuclear weapon while pushing those efforts underground.
And sanctions are only viable if the coalition of global powers remains united in that effort, Moulton said, adding that Russia, China and India would waver on their role if Congress rejected the recently negotiated terms.
Moulton also noted that he will be among a group of congressional lawmakers to head to Israel over the August recess to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a harsh critic of the deal.
Moulton's statement was disseminated to the press by the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).