U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said Wednesday that she will back the nuclear deal with Iran.

In a statement, Bustos said: "After weeks of thought and consultation, I have decided to support the nuclear agreement with Iran because it is the best path forward to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon."

Congress is expected to vote on the deal next month, and the Obama administration is lobbying heavily to get Democrats on board.

Bustos said she had attended classified briefings with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, as well as other administration and White House officials. She said she also heard from constituents.

The East Moline Democrat said the agreement would reduce Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, and she also stood up for the pact's inspections regime, which has been the focus of a lot of criticism by congressional opponents of the deal.

Bustos said that Iran "will be opened up to strict transparency and monitoring, including robust on-the-ground nuclear inspectors."

The deal with Iran, which was announced in July, was struck by the U.S. and five other nations: France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and China. It also would lift sanctions against Iran.

The Obama administration has said that the deal is the best way to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that walking away risks a war.

Critics say, however, that it is a short-term pact that doesn't go far enough in limiting Iran's nuclear capability and that it doesn't have adequate inspection language.

They also say that lifting sanctions would free up resources for Iran to back terrorist groups and threaten Israel.

In her statement, Bustos said the agreement is "not perfect" but it's the right step to ensure national and international security. She added if Iran were to violate the agreement, sanctions should be re-imposed and a military response "should not be taken off the table."

Local members of the group MoveOn.org said on Tuesday that they were planning to deliver petitions to Bustos' office Wednesday, urging her to support the deal.

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