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Rep. Meeks: Iran deal 'best option' to block nuclear weapon

Washington - Rep. Gregory Meeks said Monday that he supports the Iran nuclear agreement because "rejecting this deal would be a consequential and confounding mistake, and a return to the status quo or worse."

Meeks (D-St. Albans), who represents a slice of Nassau County, became the fifth member of the New York delegation to the U.S. House to announce he will vote in favor of the agreement when Congress takes it up next week. But Meeks is the only House member representing Long Island to be for it -- the other two Democrats and two Republicans oppose it.

"This is not a perfect deal," Meeks conceded about the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action among six countries -- led by the United States -- with Iran to curb its nuclear weapon development in return for easing sanctions against Tehran.

"In my review, I placed great importance on the verification and inspection process," Meeks said, noting he went to Vienna to meet with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"I walked away convinced that it would be reckless to reject the unprecedented monitoring, inspection and verification provisions," he said.

Meeks said it would be a big mistake to walk away from a good deal in the hopes of negotiating a better deal. "Rejecting the plan and resorting to unilateral sanctions would prove as futile as it has in the past and put the U.S. severely out of sync with most of our important global partners," he said. "Relying on military action would not curb Iran's ambitions or erase its technical knowledge."

Returning to the status quo, in which Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, would be a mistake, Meeks said, adding, "That is a risk I am unwilling to take."

There are now five New York members of the House for the deal, 14 against it and eight undeclared. New York's two Democratic senators have split: Chuck Schumer opposes the deal, while Kirsten Gillibrand is for it.

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