Sen. King calls out Republicans for playing politics on Iran deal

Calling it “a vote that entails risks of war and peace, of life and death” Maine Senator Angus King spoke from the Senate floor today to ask his colleagues to refrain from opposing the negotiated agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program until they had fully studied the proposal and held a real debate on its merits.

“I’ve been shocked and, frankly, surprised at the outpouring of reaction from people who haven’t read the agreement, who haven’t studied the implications, who haven’t gained the facts. To denounce an agreement or a deal before the ink is even dry strikes me as an abdication of our responsibility,” said King.

King was reacting to the stances of Several of his Senate colleagues, who announced opposition to the agreement immediately after it was first announced and before having had the opportunity to review it.

Republican Tom Cotton, a Freshman senator from Arkansas, for one example, quickly called the agreement “a terrible, dangerous mistake” and predicted that Congress would find a way to kill it. Cotton has repeatedly advocated for threatening military action against Iran.

“We owe our constituents, we owe the people of our states and America a close reading of the facts, a balanced weighing of the alternatives, and our best judgment. That’s what the people of Maine expect of me, and I believe that is what the people of America expect of us,” said King. “No agreement like this can be judged solely in isolation. It has to be viewed in terms of what are the alternatives. What if nothing happens? What does Iran do then? What are the relationships in the Middle East? What is Iran’s path to a bomb if this agreement is not approved?”

Maine Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin joined the GOP chorus attacked the deal just after it was announced, saying in a media statement that “Iran cannot be trusted and I believe this deal does not go far enough in eliminating their nuclear program.”

Peace and disarmament advocates have hailed the deal and the process by which it was reached as an historic achievement that “seals off Tehran’s potential pathways to a nuclear weapon” and will help to prevent a war in the Middle East.

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