Longest serving Jewish congressman supports Iran nuclear deal
WASHINGTON — The longest serving Jewish member currently in Congress announced Tuesday he’ll back the Iran nuclear deal, saying it is the best way to protect Israel.
“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,” said Democratic Rep. Sandy Levin in a statement.
The Congressman, who has served Michigan for 33 years, said he was involved in increasing U.S. sanctions against Iran, which helped develop the framework for the deal.
“Currently, Iran is only two months away from the ability to produce enough material for one nuclear weapon,” he said. “The restrictions in the Agreement provide the world with a year to respond if Iran broke out of the Agreement and moved toward acquiring the material for a bomb.”
The Obama administration is in the process of pitching the Iran nuclear deal to members of Congress, which has two months to review the deal. As long as Obama can maintain enough support from members of his own party, he will have enough votes to veto a congressional challenge to the bill without it being overwritten.
The agreement requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium and to decrease the number of installed centrifuges. Systems are in place that will detect whether numerous requirements have been violated.
“If there is a suspicion of activities of Iran’s obligations at any other location, the standard is to gain access with 24 hours notice,” Levin said. ” If there is a dispute about access, there is a process that provides access within 24 days.”
Levin said his view on the issues is shaped by both his public and private lives.
“Israel’s security has and always will be of critical importance to me and our country,” he said. “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.”
Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz were testifying before the House on Tuesday to help garner support for the proposal.