In a major gain for the Obama administration’s all-out campaign to sell the Iran nuclear accord to US lawmakers, one of the most prominent Jewish Democrats in the US Congress announced his support for the deal Tuesday.
A strong supporter of Israel and seventeen-term House Representative Sander Levin of Michigan said the agreement reached earlier this month between Iran and six world powers was the most effective way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
“Israel’s security has and always will be of critical importance to me and our country,” Levin, 83, said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
“I believe that Israel, the region, and the world are far more secure if Iran does not move toward possession of a nuclear weapon. I believe the agreement is the best way to achieve that. In my view, the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult,” he said.
Levin’s remarks come as US Secretary of State John Kerry warned skeptical members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee not to nix the contentious nuclear deal with Iran, insisting that it includes strict inspections and other safeguards to deter cheating by Tehran.
“If Congress does not support the deal, we would see this deal die — with no other options,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday as he testified in defense of the agreement for the second time in a week.
Congress has begun a 60-day review of the international agreement that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from sanctions stifling its economy.
Obama has pledged to veto any vote by the strongly Republican Congress that disapproves of the agreement.
AP contributed to this report