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Democratic senator leaning toward supporting Iran deal

July 26, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A centrist Democratic senator said Sunday he is leaning toward supporting the Iranian nuclear deal because the alternative would be war.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the latest Democrat to speak favorably of the agreement. Members of his party have started lining up to support the pact as the Obama administration works to sell it to lawmakers. Secretary of State John Kerry argued the case last week on Capitol Hill.

“I’m leaning very strongly towards that because of the options that I have,” Manchin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ″The only other option is go to war, and I’m not ready to send our people into harm’s way again until people in that part of the world want to clean up their own mess.”

Manchin said he has spoken to leaders in four of the five countries that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal, and he said if Congress rejects it, the U.S. will be on its own and faced with going to war against Iran.

“And they all believe that this is a pathway that they should be taking; it’s one they support,” he said. “If we pull out, we pull out by ourselves. So I’m looking at all of the information I have to make a decision by September.”

Republican critics told Kerry last week they think the U.S. failed to insist on enough restraints on Iran’s nuclear program before agreeing to lift economic sanctions.

Congress has 60 days to review the agreement, which lifts economic sanctions if Iran curbs its nuclear program’s capacity. The deal will take effect unless Congress blocks it, which Republican leaders who control the House and Senate hope to do.

Obama has promised to veto any effort to block the deal from taking effect, and the administration is looking for enough votes to keep Republicans from overriding a veto. It takes a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress to overturn a presidential veto.

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