Sen. Patrick Leahy says the likelihood that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the next decade has been greatly reduced because enough Senate Democrats are supporting President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran.
Leahy says Congressional rejection of the deal would have almost certainly led to war in the Middle East.
To Senator Leahy this is a pretty clear-cut issue: support a deal that has the framework of a plan to monitor Iran's nuclear program in the future or reject it and risk that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the next few years.
"If we backed out of this deal all the countries that joined us with the sanctions and all will leave. So there would be almost no sanctions on Iran and Iran will have no reason not to build a nuclear weapon," Leahy said.
When the agreement comes before Congress later this month, it will be presented as negative vote.
This means members of Congress will be voting "yes" if they disapprove of the agreement and "no" if they support it.
It's likely that both the House and Senate will both vote to reject the deal. If this happens the president will veto the legislation. There are now at least 36 Senate Democrats who are prepared to sustain the veto — that's two more than the minimum number needed.
Leahy says he's convinced that a total Congressional rejection of the agreement would have led to additional military actions in the Middle East.
"The same people who want us to reject this are the same people who argued how important is was to get into the war in Iraq. It cost us three trillion dollars, thousands upon thousands of lives and the area is less stable than it was before," Leahy said.
And Leahy says the full implementation of the deal will give the United States an opportunity to have more influence in the Middle East.
"We ought to be spending time to open up to Iran and see if we can bring about changes in one of the oldest civilizations in that part of the world," he said.
Leahy says the international inspection provisions of the agreement are strong enough to verify that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal.