Top Senate Democrat Backs Nuclear Pact

Top Senate Democrat Backs Nuclear Pact Top Senate Democrat Backs Nuclear Pact

US President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran drew support from a member of the Senate Democratic leadership and sharp criticism from a senior Republican on Tuesday.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the agreement marked a “comprehensive solution to the nuclear weapons issue with Iran” that would allow the United States and allies to seek to block the Islamic State group’s support of terrorist activities in the Middle East and elsewhere, Fox News reported.

Tehran denies the charge that it may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, stressing the program is only for peaceful applications.

Durbin spoke after Senator John Barrasso, a member of the Republican leadership, said Obama was seeking to push Congress into agreeing to the deal. “Just last week, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Dempsey, said ‘under no circumstances should we allow ballistic missiles to be sold to Iran,’” Barrasso said. “But under bullying by… Russia, the agreement has come out that Russia will be able to sell to Iran ballistic missiles.”

To the irritation of Republicans and a few Democrats who wanted Congress to vote first, the United Nations Security Council has already backed the deal.

The agreement is scheduled to take effect unless lawmakers vote to thwart it, and the Republican-controlled House and Senate are expected to approve legislation in September to do that by preventing the lifting of congressionally imposed sanctions.

Obama has already threatened to veto the bill, but Republicans would try to override his veto.

Support from 34 members of the Senate or 146 members of the House would assure Obama of prevailing in the veto struggle, and Durbin’s remarks placed him firmly on Obama’s side.

Other lawmakers are expected to begin staking out positions in the coming days, after closed-door briefings from Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who sat across the table from Iranians during the negotiations. Barrasso said the vote at the United Nations was an “end run” around Congress. “We have great concerns, because I believe this administration was so desperate to get any deal, they made concession after concession.”