While Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said she does not "trust" Iran, she is nevertheless backing the nuclear arms deal with Tehran as the "best available option" to disable the country’s nuclear capabilities.
In a statement to the Boston Globe Sunday, Warren became the latest in a handful of Democratic lawmakers to voice her the support for the agreement, which has many from both sides of the political aisle expressing doubt if not outright criticism.
"The question now before Congress—the only question before Congress—is whether the recently announced nuclear agreement represents our best available option for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Warren explained, describing herself as "convinced that it does" in the wake of consultations with President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other officials.
Warren championed the deal for allowing the United States and other world powers "continuous access to key facilities" while slapping Tehran with "stringent verification measures to ensure that Iran’s entire fuel cycle is peaceful."
In the event of Iran defying the deal, Warren claimed, "We will be able to respond with the strength and support of the world behind us." She insisted that an ultimate failure of the deal would not prevent the United States from thwarting Iran’s effort to develop a nuclear weapon in the future.
"If it ultimately fails, future actions to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran will only be enhanced by the knowledge we gain from closely monitoring the Iranian nuclear program throughout the length of the deal," she explained. "If it ultimately succeeds, we will have neutralized a grave threat without resorting to war."
Nevertheless, the Massachusetts senator and favorite among progressives admitted she does not trust Iran given the country’s history.
I do not trust the Iranian regime, which continues to terrorize its neighbors and to undermine international peace and stability, and this deal does not end our significant disputes with Iran," Warren said. "We must continue to work with the international community to counter Iran’s dangerous behavior. But it is far easier to counter the ambitions of an Iran that has no nuclear weapon than it is to counter an Iran that can threaten the world with a nuclear bomb."
Warren joins Democrats such as Reps. Sander Levin (Mich.) and Seth Moulton (Mass.) in backing the deal despite the fact that many lawmakers have warned against the agreement, which would lift international sanctions on Iran while allowing the country to press on with crucial elements of its nuclear work, research, and development.
Opposition to the deal has blossomed amid reports of secret side agreements having to do with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspection of the Iran military facility believed to have housed nuclear testing as well as the extent to which Tehran must admit to the details of its alleged nuclear weapons program.
Sunday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kansas) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal accusing Obama of breaking the law by refusing to disclose the details of said "secret side deals" to Congress.
Members of the House and Senate have 60 days–or until the middle of September–to review the deal. Lawmakers would have to pass a resolution to kill the agreement, which would need two-thirds majority support in order to override a veto from Obama.
Obama has been selling the deal to Democratic lawmakers in private and public. Upon announcing the agreement on July 14, the president vowed to veto any effort by Congress to reject the deal.