Walz announces support for Iran nuclear deal, calling it the 'best path forward'
Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) on Tuesday announced his intention to support the Iran nuclear deal, becoming the latest Minnesota Democrat to back up Pres. Obama on the landmark agreement.
"After weeks of careful consideration and study, meetings with experts, and talking with Minnesotans with passionate views on both sides, I intend to support the nuclear agreement brokered with Iran," Walz said in a statement.
Walz, a 24-year veteran of the National Guard and the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to serve in Congress, called the deal "far from perfect," noting that Iran will most likely continue to be a destabilizing force in the Middle East. But he said the agreement, reached by the U.S. and five other world powers, provides the best chance in years to halt Iran's nuclear program.
"It dismantles the progress they have made and opens up the country to strict inspections," he said. "Should Iran violate the terms of the agreement, we reserve the right to reimpose the kind of strict economic sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place."
Walz joins several other Democrats from Minnesota's congressional delegation in supporting the deal. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her support for the agreement this week while Sen. Al Franken is expected to do so any day.
“I’ve been leaning very heavily toward voting with the President on this — voting for the deal or voting against any vote to scuttle the deal," Franken told the Med City Beat during a stop in Rochester on Monday. "I’ll probably make an announcement very soon on this.”
The GOP, which controls both chambers of Congress, has come out against the agreement. Even some Democrats, most notably New York Sen. Charles Schumer, have stated their opposition to the terms of the deal.
“If you believe the Iranian regime may change, then you say OK, it’s a gamble," Shumer said, according to a report by USA Today. "But if you think they’re going to be the same horrible regime they are now, you don’t want the United States and the other nations of the world putting the stamp of approval on Iran being a threshold nuclear state.”
Congress is expected to formally vote on the deal by Sept. 17. Pres. Obama has said he would veto a bill rejecting the agreement. To override the veto, at least 13 Democrats in the Senate and 44 in the House would have to cross party lines.
Sydney Flottum contributed to this report.
(Cover photo: File / Center for Strategic & International Studies)