August 19, 2015
PORTLAND, ME – During a public forum this evening at the University of Southern Maine in Portland with former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell and former Ambassador Nicholas Burns, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) called on Congress to approve the nuclear agreement reached by the United States, its P5+1 partners, Iran, and the European Union to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
Calling the agreement the best option available to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability in the near future, Senator King outlined his support for the agreement and discussed at length with Senator Mitchell and Ambassador Burns the strengths and weaknesses of the deal, as well as the need for a Congress to remain engaged in finding ways to strengthen implementation of the deal and our broader policies for dealing with the Iranian threat.
“A nuclear-armed Iran would be a serious threat to the United States and to the world, but this agreement, if implemented effectively, would prevent Iran from obtaining the capacity to build a nuclear weapon for at least another fifteen years.” Senator King said. “I agree with those who say that this deal is not perfect. I agree that it has flaws, and where possible, I will work with my colleagues to strengthen the deal and its implementation – but the crucial question is not whether this is a perfect deal, but whether it is better than the likely alternatives. In my judgment, it is – and I believe our country, the region and the world will be safer from the threat of a nuclear Iran because of it.”
Tonight's forum, which was attended by more than 500 people, came less than a month from when the Senate is expected to vote on the agreement. Earlier this month, Senator King, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, announced his intention to support the agreement. Senator Mitchell, who served as Senate Majority Leader and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, as well as Ambassador Burns, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008 and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program during that time, also expressed their support for the agreement during this evening's forum.
The forum was sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Maine, the Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations, and the Maine Chapter of the United Nations Association – USA. University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings gave introductory remarks, and faculty member Dr. Ronald Schmidt moderated questions from the audience.
The full text of the nuclear agreement with Iran is available HERE.
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