U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday got enough votes in Congress to keep the Iran nuclear agreement alive, after the deal gained a minimum of congressional votes needed to uphold any disapproval resolution from lawmakers.
“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb,” Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski said in a statement.
“For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal,” she added.
The Senator’s support has added up 34 Senate approval votes that is enough to uphold any congressional resolution disapproving the international pact.
U.S. lawmakers had until Sept. 17 to vote on the deal with an expected resolution of disapproval. Many of the lawmakers, especially Republicans, believed that the deal made too many concessions to Iran and it could not stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner criticized the deal will “embolden” Iran and trigger a atomic arms race.
Boehner scolded Obama administration abandoned many of the goals it had set for the negotiations. “The American people and our allies were counting on President Obama to keep his word. Instead, the president has abandoned his own goals,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also blamed that Obama had approached the negotiations from a “flawed perspective: reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal of ending Iran’s nuclear program.”
Internationally, U.S. ally Israel has repeatedly expressed concern that sanctions relief on Iran in return for Iran’s promise to curtail its nuclear program could put Israel in danger.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes negotiations with Iran or a nuclear deal, said that the reached agreement is a “historic mistake for the world”. He promised to continue trying to block final passage of the agreement.
The nuclear agreement was reached in July after extensive negotiations between Iran and the so called “5+1” group, namely Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States.
“This deal blocks every way, every pathway that Iran might take in order to develop a nuclear weapon,” Obama said last week in a bid to assure American Jewish leaders on the deal.
The president has vowed to veto any congressional attempt to block the implementation of the agreement. It requires two-thirds approval in both the House and the Senate to override the veto.
Also on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to broaden support for the Iran nuclear agreement after the administration gained a minimum of congressional votes that has secured the deal.
During a press conference in Philadelphia, Kerry called the nuclear deal the last chance to stop “Iran’s relentless march toward” getting nuclear weapons.
He said the U.S. “had to face an obvious fact: sanctions alone were not getting the job done, not even close,” and the sanctions had failed “to slow, let alone halt, Iran’s relentless march toward a nuclear weapons capability.”
According to Kerry, President Obama brought U.S. allies and world powers together and pushed Tehran into talks to negotiate “until finally we arrived at the good and effective deal we had sought.” Xinhua