Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to support Iran deal

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal.

Sanders made the announcement on Friday after a telephone conversation with President Barack Obama, who addressed some of the senator’s concerns, he said in a statement.

“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,” Sanders said in the statement.

“The United States must do everything it can to make certain that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, that Israel is not threatened by a nuclear Iran and that a nuclear arms race in the region is avoided,” he said.  “President Obama and Secretary Kerry have worked through a very difficult process with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran. This agreement is obviously not all that many of us would have liked but it beats the alternative – a war with Iran that could go on for years.

Sanders discussed his decision on Friday during an interview aired on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning.

“It’s so easy to be critical of an agreement which is not perfect. But the United States has to negotiate with, you know, other countries. We have to negotiate with Iran. And the alternative of not reaching an agreement, you know what it is? It’s war. Do we really want another war, a war with Iran?” he said during the interview with host John Dickerson.

“So I think we go as far as we possibly can in trying to give peace a chance, if you like. Trying to see if this agreement will work,” he said. “And I will support it.”

Sanders announcement came a day after New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, a Jewish lawmaker from New York who is poised to become his party’s leader in the Senate in 2017, and New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives,  announced they would oppose the deal.

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