WASHINGTON –– President Barack Obama has secured enough support in the United States Senate to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal will go into effect.
Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th senator to back the deal today.
US Congress could still oppose the deal, but Obama has now enough votes to override any resolution of disapproval.
He has said the deal cuts off “every pathway to a nuclear weapon” for Iran.
“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime,” sad Mikulski in a statement. “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb.”
Republicans have been unified in their opposition to the Iran accord, saying the deal would only “embolden” Iran.
Two Democratic senators –– Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey –– are also opposed, as are a handful of Democrats in the House.
Congress is set to vote on the accord later this month, but the White House is hopeful it can secure seven additional votes to allow for a legislative move known as a filibuster.
A filibuster would prevent a final vote and Obama would not need to use his veto power to keep the Iran deal on track.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly spoken out against the deal, calling it a “bad mistake” and that it provides a “sure path to nuclear weapons”.
Activists on both sides have spent millions of dollars on advertising campaigns and pro-Israeli lobbying groups haveput pressure on lawmakers to not support the deal.
Negotiations between Iran and six world powers –– the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany –– began in 2006.
The deal, reached in July, would begin to be implemented by November.
The so-called P5+1 want Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities to ensure that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.
Iran, which wants crippling international sanctions lifted, has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful.