Mass. reps unanimous in support of Iran deal

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Written by Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE — The U.S. House on Friday took steps that were opposed by the entire Bay State congressional delegation to reject the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran and to block the president from lifting sanctions against that country until January 2017.

The House’s actions, however, face a tough road in the U.S. Senate where the White House has amassed enough support from Democrats to uphold the Iran deal and where earlier this week enough senators banded together to filibuster a resolution disapproving of the deal.

Unlike a formal treaty, the international agreement does not require ratification in the Senate.

As the House voted 247 to 186 to suspend the president’s sanction-lifting authority and approval of Obama’s deal failed 162 to 269, Massachusetts representatives were on the losing side of both votes.

While some members of the state’s nine-person, all-Democrat U.S. House delegation issued statements well in advance of the vote, others — Congressmen Richard Neal, of Springfield; William Keating, of Bourne; and Michael Capuano, of Somerville — kept people wondering until more recently.

Capuano said in August he would vote for the deal unless something changed.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Keating said rejecting the internationally brokered agreement would be a “worst-case scenario for the United States, Israel, and the region.” In his statement Thursday, Neal touted his 2002 vote against authorizing the use of force in Iraq and said he had spoken with President Barack Obama and others about the nuclear agreement.

“Our international partners would consider a vote of disapproval a strong rebuke of the diplomatic path forward,” said Neal, who said a rejection of the agreement would leave the United States “virtually alone in the world.”

The deal exchanges a lifting of international sanctions on Iran for an oversight regime aimed at keeping the country from using nuclear materials to build weapons.

Copyright State House News Service