WASHINGTON – Rep. Rick Nolan is supporting the Iran nuclear deal.
Confirming his position to the Star Tribune over the weekend, the Eighth Congressional District Democrat says he has spent “countless hours” in classified briefings and poring over documents in reaching his decision.
“I have concluded that this agreement will reduce Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon; that’s what this is all about,” Nolan said in an interview between events in northern Minnesota. “I’ve talked with a number of people … what is the likely outcome of failure, what is the likely response from Iran. I’m convinced the consequences are severe and dramatic. I’m convinced there is not a better deal.”
Nolan is the latest member of the Minnesota delegation to take a stand on the deal, which Congress will vote on next month. Members are away from Washington this month for Congressional recess.
Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar said they support the deal. Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz say they stand behind President Obama, who has said the alternative is likely war. GOP Reps. John Kline, Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen say they are skeptical and likely to vote against it.
The last Minnesota politician undecided on the deal is Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who often votes with Republicans. For him, this meant the other day, while he was back in his Seventh Congressional District talking to constituents and monitoring his quickly advancing corn harvest, he got a call from the Israeli prime minister voicing concerns.
He says he has not heard from the White House.
“People have two different views on what it means. I think it’s smart to wait until all the dust settles, until we get all the information about what’s really going on here,” he said. “I’m keeping my powder dry and listening.”
As members cruise their districts talking to voters, the issue is getting plenty of attention.
Kline, in a talk to the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce last week, said the agreement deeply worried him.
“I think that no deal is better than a bad deal. I want to be clear that I’m not opposed to diplomacy, I’m just opposed to bad diplomacy,” he said.
Kline, who flatly rejects Obama’s position that this deal’s alternative is war, said he believes in keeping firm economic sanctions on Iran. He says that will be enough for them to scale back their flourishing nuclear program.
Franken and Klobuchar both called the deal imperfect, but noted there were not great alternatives.
“If we were to reject this agreement, Iran would be able to continue all of its destabilizing activities while continuing its pursuit of the most destructive weapon in the world,” Klobuchar said in her statement supporting it.
Nolan, touring Brainerd this weekend, agreed. “Everybody in America now is talking about the importance of fixing things and getting things done,” he said. “It’s not perfect.”