US Dems Amass Enough Votes to Secure Accord

US Dems Amass Enough Votes to Secure AccordUS Dems Amass Enough Votes to Secure Accord

US President Barack Obama secured a landmark foreign policy victory Wednesday as Senate Democrats amassed enough votes to ensure the Iran nuclear deal survives in Congress despite ferocious opposition from Republicans and the Israel government.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the crucial 34th vote in favor of the agreement, AP reported.

In a statement, Mikulski called the accord "the best option available to [curb Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is totally for peaceful applications]. For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal."

The backing from Mikulski, who is retiring next year, gives supporters the margin they need to uphold an Obama veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval if Republicans pass such a measure later this month.

And it spells failure for opponents of the international agreement who sought to foil it by turning Congress against it.

Leading that effort were Israel and its allies in the US, who failed to get traction after spending millions of dollars trying.

The agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July temporarily limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

With opposition to the agreement failing to take hold on the Democratic side, supporters may even be able to muster the 41 votes needed to block the disapproval resolution from passing in the first place, sparing Obama from having to use his veto pen.

That would require seven of the 10 remaining undeclared senators to decide in favor of the deal.

Only two Democratic senators have come out against — Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey — while in recent weeks undeclared Democratic senators, even from Republican-leaning states, have broken in favor one after another.

Even if Congress passes the disapproval resolution, it cannot stop the deal reached by Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

The UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the pact in July through a resolution outlining how international sanctions on Iran would be lifted.