Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Booker Says He'll Support 'Deeply Flawed' Iran Pact

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Booker Says He'll Support 'Deeply Flawed' Iran Pact

Article excerpt

Though he called the nuclear agreement the United States and other world powers reached with Iran "deeply flawed," Sen. Cory Booker said Thursday that he will vote to support it because "the alternative is worse."

In a nearly 3,500-word statement, Booker said the program only delays rather than prevents Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon, and that it allows Iran to pursue domestic uranium enrichment "at levels far beyond what is necessary for a peaceful civil nuclear program."

But Booker said the deal provides better monitoring and inspection provisions than any nuclear agreement ever negotiated, removes 98 percent of Iran's enriched uranium stockpile and calls for filling the heavy-water reactor at the underground Arak facility with concrete.

"It establishes historically unprecedented mechanisms to block Iran's near-term pathway to a nuclear weapon," Booker said. The real test, he said, is how the world would respond if Iran were to try to cheat on the terms of the deal, and he said there must be further agreements with European negotiating partners and Gulf states so there is a plan in place to respond forcefully to any violations.

He also said the United States should provide Israel with its most powerful "bunker buster" bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would presumably enable Israel to destroy Iran's Arak research facility, which is built under a mountain.

Rejecting the deal now, as Congress will consider when it returns next week from its August recess, would make the United States rather than Iran the focus of international pressure, Booker said.

"We must recognize that regardless of what Congress decides to do now, our sanctions regime will be significantly weakened," Booker said.

His position puts Booker on the same side as President Obama, for whom he campaigned around the country in 2008 and 2012. …

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