Benicia Herald - Benicia’s rep says he backs Iran deal
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson has issued a statement in support of the Iran nuclear agreement recently reached by negotiators from six countries, saying, “A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.”
Thompson, the Napa Democrat who is Benicia’s representative in the House, said, “There are only two ways to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon: diplomacy or military force. My first choice is diplomacy.”
A Vietnam veteran, Thompson is a former senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Before releasing his statement, he said, he reviewed intelligence and has read classified documents on the matter. He also has attended numerous meetings with experts both inside President Barack Obama’s administration as well as those outside the White House, including with Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for President George W. Bush.
Nor is this a new topic for Thompson.
“As a combat veteran and former member of the Intelligence Committee, I have been following this issue closely for many years,” he said, adding that the intelligence he studied “clearly points toward the fact that this deal is better than the status quo.”
Thompson called Iran a nuclear threshold state, and said without the agreement Iran is likely to make progress in developing a nuclear weapon.
The agreement would stop such activities for 10 to 15 years and would give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “enormous access” for inspections, and would obligate Iran to honor those inspections forever, he said.
In addition, the U.S. and its allies would “fully engage the regime to do everything possible to make sure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Thompson stressed that he doesn’t trust or like Iran’s leaders, but said, “The president has correctly pointed out that you don’t negotiate peace agreements with those you know, like and trust.”
He said the agreement “is in the best interest of the United States and our allies, Israel included,” and promised to endorse the pact when it is presented to Congress for a vote.
“After a careful and detailed evaluation, I believe the deal struck by the Obama Administration is the best way forward,” he said.