The congressman who represents a Flint, Mich., Marine veteran held by Iran for nearly four years said he’s weighed the P5+1 nuclear deal and has decided to vote in favor of it.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) has been a vocal advocate for his constituent, Amir Hekmati, and three other Americans held or missing in Iran: pastor Saeed Abedini, journalist Jason Rezaian, and retired FBI agent Bob Levinson.
Amir’s 32nd birthday was this week — the third he’s marked behind the bars of Evin prison — and Kildee noted Tuesday that “there isn’t a day that goes by that a member of Congress doesn’t ask me about Amir’s condition and continued captivity. And it is impossible for any member of Congress to erase from our memory the fact that Iran continues to hold Amir and other innocent Americans.”
Today, Kildee said in a statement that “after careful review and consultation, I will support the nuclear agreement with Iran.”
“I have ultimately determined it will make the world a safer place and is in the best interest of the U.S., our allies, and the global community. Ultimately, this deal prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And if Iran cheats, we will know it,” the congressman said. “How to deal with the threat that Iran represents is a very difficult question, and there is no perfect answer.”
Kildee said that since the agreement was announced he’s “studied it in detail, attended classified briefings on key provisions, and met with the president, administration officials, independent experts, and people I represent.” President Obama hosted House Democrats at the White House yesterday for a closed-door meeting.
“Through this process, I have judged the agreement on its merits while asking what other alternatives are available to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And the fact remains that there is simply no viable alternative to this agreement that stops Iran from getting this dangerous weapon,” he said.
“Some have suggested that the fate of Amir Hekmati and the other innocent American political prisoners held in Iran be tied to the nuclear deal. However, I do not support this approach. We never want to exchange the freedom of innocent Americans for something that presumably makes the world a less safe place. Amir himself has said that he does not want his release to be traded for such concessions. Simply, he is innocent, has committed no crime, and Iran needs to unilaterally release him.”