WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 – In a Senate floor speech later today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will detail his support for an agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In prepared remarks, Sanders likened critics of the agreement to those in Congress who voted to take the United States to war in Iraq in 2003.
“Those who have made every effort to thwart the diplomatic process and have spoken out against the Iran agreement, including many in this chamber, are the same people who spoke out forcefully on the need to go to war with Iraq,” Sanders said.
“I voted against the war in Iraq. Sadly, much of what I feared in fact did happen. I do not want to see it happen again.”
Sanders statement came as the Senate debated a resolution to disapprove the proposed agreement. “I fear that many of my Republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort,” Sanders said.
The deal – which would require Iran to dismantle most of its nuclear program for at least a decade – “has the best chance of limiting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon while avoiding yet another war in the region,” Sanders said.
“It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, but how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner. I believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military engagement – especially after nearly 14 years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in the region,” he said.
The agreement calls for Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium, dismantle the country's heavy-water nuclear reactor and would subject Iran to rigorous monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Does the agreement achieve everything I would like? Of course not. But to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on – with Iran developing nuclear weapons capability and the potential for military intervention by the U.S. and Israel growing greater by the day,” Sanders said.