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Rep. Comstock visits Israel, stresses opposition to Iran deal

U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th) says an August trip to Israel with dozens of her congressional colleagues reaffirmed her decision to oppose President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

Amid deep ideological divides over the nuclear deal, Comstock joined GOP colleagues in a recent delegation to the U.S. ally nation, where she says they met with Israeli government and military leaders, all of whom opposed the agreement.

“It was a unanimous view that this deal is very much a threat, not just to Israel and the entire region, but to the United States,” Comstock told the Times-Mirror. “We can work on a better deal. It isn't this deal or war.”

“There's no bipartisan support. The support is partisan,” she said.

Comstock opined that if the U.S. officially enters into the deal, Iran is likely to develop a nuclear weapon in the next 12 or 13 years.

Obama and his allies have been trying to sell the Iran deal to Washington lawmakers and the general public since striking it in July. The agreement involves lifting financial sanctions against Iran in exchange for 10 years worth of inspections and reduced nuclear materials.

Comstock said a new deal should not provide financial relief to Iran until after the country has proven it will change its nuclear trajectory. “I think if anything, we should increase the sanctions,” she noted.

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) of Virginia supports the president's deal, while his Democratic colleague, Sen. Mark Warner, has not taken a yes-or-no position.

Two prominent Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey, have announced opposition to the deal, underscoring the long road ahead for the president.

Kaine said he feels the agreement is a “dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security."

“The agreement takes a nuclear weapons program that was on the verge of success and disables it for many years through peaceful diplomatic means with sufficient tools for the international community to verify whether Iran is meeting its commitments,” Kaine said in a statement. “In the negotiation, America has honored its best traditions and shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot.”

Discussions and votes on the Iran agreement are expected in September.

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