U.S. President Barack Obama scored a major foreign policy victory on Wednesday by securing enough Senate votes to protect the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, but Republicans pledged to keep up their fight against the pact with new sanctions on Tehran.Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski said she would support the deal announced on July 14 between world powers and Iran, which exchanges relief on economic sanctions for Tehran’s agreeing to curtail its nuclear program. Mikulski brings the list of senators backing the deal to 34, 32 Democrats and two independents who typically vote with Democrats, enough to sustain Obama’s promised veto if the Republican-controlled Congress passes a disapproval resolution.The next goal for the agreement’s backers is to see if they can gather at least 41 Senate votes to block a disapproval resolution in the Senate and keep Obama from having to use his veto power.”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,” Mikulski said in a statement.The White House welcomed growing support for the agreement and said it would keep working with lawmakers to secure as much backing as possible.Republicans dismissed Wednesday’s news and made clear they still intend to fight the deal.Republicans have said they will pursue additional measures to crack down on Iran even if the deal survives congressional review, including imposing sanctions over human rights violations or providing financial support to terrorists.”The White House may have convinced just enough Democrats to back an agreement … but this deal is far from being implemented,” said Cory Fritz, spokesman for Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said that soon after debating the Iran deal, Congress will likely pass a 10-year extension of the “Iran Sanctions Act,” which expires at the end of 2016.In addition, Republican state officials, including Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette have urged all 50 U.S. states to impose their own sanctions on Iran.Obama administration officials have expressed skepticism about renewing the sanctions law, and Tehran has said it would consider new sanctions a violation of the nuclear agreement.
Democratic aides said they would resist any attempt by Republicans to re-impose sanctions lifted under the nuclear agreement by …Read More