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Maine Sen. King Questions Iran Deal Alternative

WASHINGTON - Maine Sen. Angus King is pressing critics of the Obama administration's proposed multi-nation deal with Iran to do more than criticize to effort aimed at preventing Iran from building a nuclear  weapon.

At a Senate Armed Services committee hearing, several former officials of both the Obama and Bush administrations testified about what they see as weaknesses in the agreement.

That prompted this response from King: "You gentlemen have done a pretty good job today of picking out many of the defects in this agreement, which I agree are there. But the real question then becomes, what is the alternative?"

King is worried that without the agreement, the likelihood of Iran developing nuclear weapons will increase.

"As I see it, what we are essentially buying is 15 years of a nuclear-free Iran, and if Iran starts to misbehave in a nuclear sense at the end of 15 years, we have the same options we have today," King said.

But he says the vote on the agreement will likely be the toughest he makes as a United States senator. The vote is expected in September.