Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley stopped short from endorsing the nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday, rather called it “promising” if indeed this leads to verifiable measures that would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities.
“I still have to review the agreement, but u believe that a negotiated agreement, provided it’s verifiable and enforceable, is the best path to a nuclear-free Iran,” O’Malley told reporters at an unrelated press conference in NY. “I think the initial news is promising.. The bottom line in our consideration as a nation, I believe, should be whether or not, in fact, there are verifiable and enforceable mechanism in place in the deal that would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”
As to Israel’s concerns, raised on Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Maryland Governor said that snapback sanctions should offer Israel and the region assurance that the U.S. would be on guard if Iran cheats and violates the terms of the deal.
“Israel and the United States have a close, close, close alliance, and the security relationship and the relationship between the two countries is and must remain very, very strong,” O’Malley told JP. “I believe that the best path that would bring the greatest amount of stability and to Israel and the region is to prevent Iran from developing a weapon. If this agreement does that, that would be a good thing, not only for our allies, like Israel, but it would be for the best interest of the United States.”
O’Malley stressed that while the military option should always remain on the table, “certainly we can’t speak to the options of other nations, as every nation has the right to defend itself,” the best path is through a verifiable and enforceable agreement.”
“If the bottom line is that it prevents Iran – by a verifiable and enforceable way – from developing a nuclear weapon , that should be the criteria as we evaluate this deal,” he added.
Earlier Tuesday, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed the deal it in a “full-throated” manner, according to House Democrats who attended a meeting with the Democratic presidential frontrunner on the hill. “She endorsed it full-throated,” Rep. Gerald Connolly told reporters. “She was not equivocal at all in her support of the agreement as she understands it.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said Clinton made it clear the Iran deal is worthy of support. “She was eloquent and forceful in talking about the Iranian agreement and the history leading up to it and why it puts us in a potentially stronger position,” Blumenauer was quoted as saying by the National Journal. “It was very artfully and fully expressed, and I thought it was very helpful.”
In a press conference at the Capitol following the meeting, Clinton said she supported enforcement of the deal. “I think we have to look at this seriously, evaluate it carefully, but I believe based on what I know now, this is an important step,” she said. “There will be a number of issues that have to be addressed. I want to just mention, too, the first is enforcement. This agreement will have to be enforced vigorously, relentlessly.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders went a step further and called the deal “a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling.”
The nuclear agreement, “could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East,m” the Jewish Senator declared. “I look forward to learning more about the complex details of this agreement to make sure that it is effective and strong.”