Kilmer announces support for Iran nuclear agreement

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Congressman Derek Kilmer released a statement in support of the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, saying he believes the agreement is best for national security.

Kilmer had not publicly stated a formal position on the deal, which was reached in July, until Friday.

“I want to be in a position to support it but I need to do my due diligence before formalizing my position,” the congressman told the Peninsula Daily News last month.

“After many discussions, briefings and a great deal of reflection, I’ve decided to support the agreement for one simple reason: I believe this deal represents our best chance to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” the statement reads.

The deal, between the United States, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia, would relieve economic sanctions on the western Asian country in exchange for Iran giving up 97 percent of its enriched Uranium and two thirds of its centrifuges in order to stymie the country’s nuclear activities.

Kilmer’s support of the deal comes as the majority of Democrats and Republicans are in disagreement about the terms of the agreement, with those on the right arguing economic sanctions will fund terrorist groups in the country, while Democrats see the measure as a historic feat in international diplomacy.

In his statement, Kilmer describes the decision of whether to support the deal as being one of the “most challenging” he’s ever had to make and calls it “the most consequential issue on which this Congress will engage.”

The deal was reached on July 14 and Kilmer said the next step is for Congress to get on board with the agreement.

“Our participation makes it more likely that (the deal) is successfully implemented and enforced, and ultimately makes the world a safer, more peaceful place – not just for my own little girls, but for people around the world,” the statement reads.

Although he supports the plan, he makes clear he doesn’t think it’s perfect. Kilmer points out that reaching an agreement doesn’t mean Iran will entirely resign its nuclear aspirations, but stated the deal is a better alternative than the country’s potential for creating weapons going unchecked.

“The consequences of rejecting this deal are more uncertain and potentially far more dangerous, leading to the likelihood that Iran could accelerate its nuclear weapons program with no international consensus regarding what to do about it,” the statement reads.

“Moreover, this would put the United States in a weaker position through which to engage our allies to address threats down the road. On balance, this agreement allows us to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation, not just in Iran, but throughout the region.”

In the statement, Kilmer also says that the deal must be “vigorously” enforced and that the U.S. cannot be afraid to carry out necessary actions if Iran violates the deal’s conditions.

Congress has until Sept. 17 to accept or reject the deal.