Former US ambassadors to Israel back Iran deal
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Former US ambassadors to Israel back Iran deal

7 past State Department officials claim ‘risks will be much higher for US and Israel’ without nuclear accord

Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer at Princeton University, February 1, 2011 (AP/Mel Evans)
Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer at Princeton University, February 1, 2011 (AP/Mel Evans)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven former US diplomats and State Department officials sent a letter Monday to leaders in Congress urging them to support the nuclear deal with Iran.

Those for and against the international agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief are engaged in a verbal battle in order to lobby lawmakers.

Congress has 60 days to review the deal, and vote to approve or disapprove of the agreement or take no action.

The views of those against the nuclear agreement align with recent statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who staunchly and openly opposes the deal. Iran has threatened to annihilate his nation.

Former ambassadors to Israel — James Cunningham, William Harrop, Daniel Kurtzer, Thomas Pickering and Edward Walker Jr. — signed the letter as has R. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to NATO, and Frank Wisner, former undersecretary of state for international security affairs and undersecretary of defense for policy.

“No agreement between multiple parties can be perfect or without risks,” the letter states. “We believe that without this agreement, however, the risks will be much higher for the United States and Israel. We see no fatal flaws that should call for the rejection of this agreement and have not heard any viable alternatives from those who oppose the implementation” of the deal.

Obama administration officials have made numerous appearances on Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers and convince them to approve the agreement.

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