Obama gets votes to uphold Iran nuclear deal

2015-09-02 18:56
Barbara Mikulski  (AFP)

Barbara Mikulski (AFP)

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Washington - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday secured enough votes in the US Senate to ensure the nuclear deal with Iran cannot be blocked by Congress.

Senator Barbara Mikulski said on Wednesday she would support the deal. She became the 34th senator to say she backs it, giving Obama the backing he needs to push through the deal.

"No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime," Mikulski said 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."

She said she would vote in favour of the deal, but added that she felt Congress must also reaffirm US commitment to the safety and security of Israel. The nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, including the United States, has exacerbated tensions between the United States and Israel.

Obama has been working to sell the deal to sceptical US lawmakers, who have until September 17 to vote on it.

The Senate and House of Representatives, which have opposition Republican majorities, could pass a resolution disapproving the deal, but Obama has said he would veto any such measure. Mikulski's decision to become the 34th senator backing the bill means there are not enough votes in the Senate to override his veto.

Mikulski, a Democrat, said she spent "countless hours" reading the agreement, and said she considered the upcoming vote to be among the most serious she's taken with "monumental and enduring consequences".

Obama maintains the deal is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but critics, including some in his left-leaning Democratic Party, say the controls do not go far enough and would allow Tehran to acquire a weapon once key provisions expire.

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech on Wednesday laying out multiple administration arguments in favour of the agreement.

"Without this agreement the Iranians would have several potential pathways to a bomb; with it, they won't have any," Kerry said.

Read more on:    us  |  iran  |  iran nuclear programme

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