Colin Powell and top Jewish Democrat come out in support of Iran nuclear deal

Debbie Wasserman Shultz said she made the decision with a "Jewish Heart," while former US secretary of state under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, said "It's a pretty good deal."

September 6, 2015 17:41
3 minute read.

DF chief of general staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Colin Powell . (photo credit: SHMULIK ALMANI)

US Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) announced her support for the Iran nuclear deal in a op-ed published by The Miami Herald Sunday.

In a five-and-a-half  page statement released to the Herald, Shultz said that despite concerns and reservations, she will support President Barack Obama's key foreign policy achievement when the motion comes under review in the US House of Representatives later this month.

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“I have subsequently come to the conclusion that the agreement promotes the national security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support ...” she wrote. “This agreement is not perfect. But I join many in the belief that with complex, multilateral, nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with inherent geopolitical implications for the entire world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ deal.”

In an interview with CNN which aired shortly after she announced her support for the deal, Wasserman Shultz  described how she wrestled with the decision, weighing the pros and cons, and finally, "with a Jewish heart" decided to support the deal.

"I wrote an op-ed in (The Miami Herald) that talks about this and my Jewish heart and how important this was to me that as a Jewish mother," she said, holding back tears. "We have a concept of l'dor v'dor, generation to generation, there's nothing more important to me, as a Jew, than to ensure Israel's existence is there throughout our generations."

In a surprising move, former US secretary of state under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, voiced his support for the Iran nuclear deal as well on Sunday.

"It's a pretty good deal," Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press.

In answer to those who say the deal will speed Iran's path to a nuclear bomb, Powell said that they were "forgetting the reality that [Iranian leaders] have been on a superhighway, for the last 10 years, to create a nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons program, with no speed limit."

He said that it was "remarkable" that Iran had agreed to reduce its number of centrifuges and uranium stockpile, as well as halting use of its plutonium reactor at Arak.

"I think a very vigorous verification regime has been put into place," Powell said in response to critics of the inspection regime put in place as part of he deal.

"I say, we have a deal, let's see how they implement the deal. If they don't implement it, bail out. None of our options are gone," Powell added.

Earlier this week, the Obama administration had secured the support of 34 senators for its nuclear agreement with Iran, ensuring its survival through a vote of disapproval scheduled in Congress later this month after Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland, announced her support for the deal on Wednesday morning.

Obama only needs one-third of one house of Congress to ensure passage of the accord – the minimum necessary to uphold a presidential veto.

Congress may still vote and pass a resolution disapproving of the deal when it reconvenes next week.

The fight ahead will be over whether that vote of disapproval takes place at all. For the tally to proceed, 60 members of the 100-member Senate will have to agree to proceed with debate. Opponents of the deal are four votes shy of that number, with only 56 members publicly opposed.

Should 41 Democrats endorse the agreement, the caucus may choose to filibuster debate and prevent a vote.

Congress has until September 17 – the end of its review period of the deal – to hold the vote.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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