Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday earned sufficient congressional backing to ensure the Iran nuclear deal does not get blocked, when a 34th senator announced her support for the accord.
Most US lawmakers are opposed to the deal, which would ease punishing economic sanctions on Tehran while preventing it from advancing its nuclear program. Many Republicans warn that the Islamic republic will seek to cheat its way to an atomic bomb.
Should Congress pass a resolution that disapproves of the deal, Obama would veto it. Overcoming the veto would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate and House of Representatives.
With veteran Senate Democrat Barbara Mikulski announcing her support Wednesday, the deal now has 34 backers in the Senate — the number needed to uphold Obama´s veto.
While the deal is not perfect, Mikulski said, “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb.”
She added that while she will vote for the deal, “Congress must also reaffirm our commitment to the safety and security of Israel.”
Republicans are unified in their opposition to the Iran accord, warning that the easing of sanctions will provide Iran with a windfall of up to $150 billion, which they say could be funnelled toward terrorist operations or actions against US ally Israel.
Democrats “own it,” number two Senate Republican John Cornyn posted on Twitter. “Iran deal done. With Mikulski, Obama has all the votes he needs.”