Some Democrats now back Iran nuke deal

The Times-Tribune - - Local / Nation - BY RICHARD LARDNER

WASH­ING­TON — Sev­eral con­gres­sional Democrats who split with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to op­pose the nu­clear agree­ment with Iran are now urg­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to up­hold the in­ter­na­tional ac­cord, ar­gu­ing that ro­bust en­force­ment is the best way to counter Tehran’s ma­lign be­hav­ior in the Mid­dle East.

The re­ver­sal un­der­scores deep con­cerns among law­mak­ers that Trump will in­form Con­gress in the com­ing days that the land­mark 2015 agree­ment with Iran is con­trary to Amer­ica’s na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests. That dec­la­ra­tion could lead to an un­rav­el­ing of the seven-na­tion pact and leave the United States, not Iran, as the coun­try that balked at hon­or­ing its com­mit­ments.

Rep. Eliot En­gel, D-N.Y., who voted against the agree­ment two years ago, said at a hear­ing Wed­nes­day U.S. in­ter­ests are best served by keep­ing the deal and ag­gres­sively polic­ing the agree­ment to en­sure Iran doesn’t vi­o­late the terms. En­gel, the top Demo­crat on the For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, said un­wind­ing the agree­ment would send a dan­ger­ous sig­nal to al­lies and ad­ver­saries alike.

The U.S. will need to work with Bri­tain, France and Ger­many — all par­ties to the Iran nu­clear pact — to fix its flaws and those coun­tries need to know that the U.S. is a re­li­able part­ner, ac­cord­ing to En­gel. North Korea’s lead­ers, mean­while, would have lit­tle in­cen­tive to ne­go­ti­ate a nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment if they see the Iran deal col­lapse, he said.

“We need to work with al­lies and part­ners on a shared agenda that holds the regime in Iran ac­count­able, not di­vid­ing Amer­ica from our clos­est friends across the globe,” En­gel said.

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