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August 21, 2015 5:10 pm

Maryland’s Democratic US Senators Remain Undecided on Iran Deal

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U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, both Democrats from Maryland. Photo: U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, both Democrats from Maryland. Photo: U.S. Senate. – With Congress in the midst of a 60-day period to review the Obama administration-brokered Iran nuclear deal, two Democratic U.S. senators from Maryland—Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski—remain undecided about the agreement.

While it is expected that virtually all 54 Republicans in the Senate will vote against the Iran deal, 67 anti-deal votes are needed to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a possible Congressional rejection of the pact. The only two Senate Democrats who have publicly come out against the agreement so far are Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (N.J.).

Asked where Cardin stands on the nuclear deal, and whether or not his decision will be affected by the recent report that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog made a side agreement with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to carry out its own inspections at the Parchin nuclear site, Cardin spokesperson Sue Walitsky said the senator “continues to review all aspects of the agreement to determine what decision he’ll make.”

“He continues to study the details of this deal, reach out to experts for answers to his many questions, and engage Marylanders to get their thoughts,” Walitsky told “There is great intensity on all sides of this issue, but the feedback has been decidedly mixed. He believes that each senator and member of Congress has to make his or her own decision based on what is right for our country—not party, not president, but the national security of the United States of America. He does not plan to rush his decision based on what others may decide.”

Cardin is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When contacted by, Mikulski’s office said the senator is currently traveling and unable to return a request for comment.

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  • History Belies the Dream of Iranian Moderation

    Those undecided about the Iran deal should consider this: Recent and ancient history contradict the dream of Iranian moderation. Even if Iran abides by the agreement, a naïve assumption, this would only delay their destructive intentions. If Iran plans to refrain from building a bomb forever, why is there a ten-year limit rather than a lasting treaty? The answer can be found in Islamic tradition: 10-years is the maximum time that Muslims can be at peace with infidels, and only for the purpose of buying time for weakened Muslims to regroup before renewing their offensive. According to Raymond Ibrahim in Middle East Quarterly (2010), this derives from the 10-year “treaty” between Mohammed and his Quraysh opponents in Mecca. Since Muslim legal theory requires that treaties must be of temporary duration, Mohammed claimed an infraction and broke the treaty after two years. Contemporary Arabs followed this precedent with major attacks on Israel always within 10-year intervals or less: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 1987-1993, 2000-2005, 2008. 2014. Weakened by the economic sanctions and informed by this tradition, Iran will repeat history unless we learn from it. The Ayatollah knows this binding Islamic tradition. With Iran continuing to chant “Death to America, Death to Israel,” dreams of moderation will rapidly fade into a nightmare.

    Robert M. Schwartz, Ph.D.
    5471 Pocusset Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15217

  • Michael Mayben

    How could any sane person, especially America’s elected Democrat Senators and Representatives, be undecided on whether to allow the Iran Deal to proceed through Congress without rejecting all parts of this dangerous deal that will without a doubt bring about a nuclear conflict between Iran and America as well as its ally Israel.

  • Abraham

    As more and more information is being revealed about this Iranian agreement, it should be clear to both Senators that this deal is faulty and not in the best interest of the US, the West and especially Israel.