Accord Gains More US Democratic Backing

Accord Gains More US Democratic Backing  Accord Gains More US Democratic Backing

The nuclear deal between Iran and the United States and five other world powers is picking up crucial support from swing-state US Senate Democrats despite vehement Republican opposition.

On Thursday, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill became the latest to declare her backing, saying in a statement, "This deal isn't perfect…, but it has become clear to me that the world is united behind this agreement with the exception of the government of Israel," the AP reported.  

McCaskill's announcement followed a similar declaration a day earlier from Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, who said, "I am willing to give this agreement the opportunity to succeed."

Their support brings to 26 the number of Senate Democrats who have come out in favor of the agreement aimed at temporarily limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Supporters now include 10 of the 12 members on the Democratic side of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With majority Republicans unanimously opposed, Obama needs 34 Senate Democrats to sustain his veto of a resolution disapproving the deal. The disapproval measure may pass next month. With only two Senate Democrats opposed so far that number is increasingly looking within reach, and supporters could even potentially secure the 41 votes that would block the resolution from passing in the first place.

  Pelosi: Deal Will Hold  

The dynamic is similar in the House, where Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the AP this week that Democrats will back up Obama if he is forced to veto a disapproval resolution. "We will sustain the veto," she said. Doing so would require 146 Democrats. The number of publicly declared supporters neared 60 Thursday as Representatives Mike Honda of California and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut came out in favor.

The White House on Thursday released a letter sent by Obama to New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, addressing some undecided Democrats' concerns. In the letter, dated Wednesday, Obama wrote, "Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available."

Iran denies the charge it may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a civilian program, saying the work is entirely for peaceful applications.

Reflecting the strong feelings on all sides of the issue, lobbying by outside groups intensified on Thursday. The liberal group Americans United for Change announced plans for a $500,000 ad campaign supporting the deal in a half-dozen cities with large Jewish populations, and prominent Jewish supporters took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to try to counter Israeli opposition. On the other side, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, which is backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and others, announced the latest phase in a promised $20 million ad campaign against the deal.