Delaware Sen. Christopher Coons says he is standing with 31 other senators who have endorsed a plan to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
"This is not the agreement I had hoped for," Coons said, yet ultimately it is the best option available.
The former New Castle County Council President and New Castle County Executive who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 joins fellow Democratic Sen. Tom Carper and 30 other senators in supporting the controversial agreement worked out between Iran and the P5+1, made up of the U.S., United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany, along with the European Union.
Forty-six senators oppose the plan. The remaining 22 are still undecided. Congress will consider a resolution of disapproval this month which, if passed, President Barack Obama said he would veto. Thirteen Democrats would have to join Republicans opposing the measure in order to override a presidential veto. In the U.S. House, only 11 Democrats have said they oppose the bill, meaning it will be more difficult for Republicans to override a presidential veto.
Opponents of the deal say Iran cannot be trusted. Supporters say without the agreement, Iran could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.
Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPA, economic sanctions against Iran will be eased in exchange for the country reducing its stockpile of uranium and allowing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to any site deemed suspicious. Iran would also have to export or dilute existing enriched uranium in its possession.
Coons said he is disappointed the agreement merely freezes Iran's development of a nuclear weapon. "It does not permanently destroy it," he said.
"If Congress rejects this," Coons said, "the path is even less clear than it is with it."