Senator Says Congress' Work on Iran Will Continue After Deal Vote
Sen. Bob Casey said Congress’ work on the Iran nuclear deal was far from over.
By ALI WEINBERG
September 2, 2015, 6:48 PM
• 4 min read
-- Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey told ABC News that Congress’ work on the Irannuclear agreement is far from over, even as the deal’s success was essentially secured Wednesday as it received enough Senate support to move forward.
“The agreement will be moving forward. In some ways that’s when our work just begins,” Casey said in a phone interview.
The senior senator from Pennsylvania became on Tuesday the 32nd Democratic senator to support the deal, writing a lengthy memo that explained his decision-making process but also laid out his concerns, including the belief that the Obama administration should use more direct language in explaining the consequences if Iran violates portions of the deal.
“The language that’s been repeated month after month after month – 'All options are on the table' – is not enough in my judgment,” he said.
Casey added that Congress has a role to play in ensuring that Iran does not use the funds it receives from the lifting of sanctions to support other destabilizing organizations and regimes in the region including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.
“We have to do something about the fact that Iran with limited dollars can do a lot with asymmetric warfare – they do that better than any country in that region and we have to make sure that other countries in the region are using the same strategies and methods to counter Iran,” he said.
The Obama administration is likely to join the EU and United Nations in implementing the agreement now that it has the 34 Senate Democratic votes it needed to sustain a veto of a resolution of disapproval on which Congress will vote when it returns from recess on September 8.
Casey is among the members of both houses that have begun talking about what else needs to be done after the deal is in place to keep up the pressure on Iran.
He said Congress should look at increasing support for not just Israel, whose government strongly opposes the nuclear agreement, but also gulf nations that fear that Iran will take advantage of the deal to become a dominant military force in the region.
Casey said that despite multiple conversations with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, there was no one “aha” moment in which he decided to support the deal, but rather, it came at the end of a six-week process of consulting officials, experts and constituents.
“Not any one person or group of people could persuade me. I had to persuade myself,” he said.