MONTPELIER, Vermont — Vermont U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he'll support the deal negotiated by the United States and other nations with Iran to limit its nuclear program.
Sanders issued a statement after a telephone conversation on Friday with President Barack Obama. Sanders said in the statement that the president addressed some of his concerns, but he didn't say what they were.
Sanders, an independent who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, says the agreement is not everything he could have hoped for but it beats the alternative — a war with Iran that could go on for years.
He says sanctions that the agreement calls for lifting could be re-imposed if Iran does not live up to the terms of the deal.
Late Thursday, amid all of the media hullabaloo surrounding the first GOP presidential primary debate of the 2016 election cycle, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York -- the No. 3 Senate Democrat and perhaps the most influential Jewish lawmaker in Congress -- dropped a bombshell when he announced that he would not support the Iran nuclear deal.
“I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy,” Schumer wrote in his statement Thursday, “It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”
While Schumer’s announcement was a blow to President Obama, it comes after a flurry of key Senate Democrats announced they would vote in support of the deal, including Schumer’s New York colleague, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Other Democrats who voiced their support of the deal were Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Barbara Boxer of California.