The Iranian nuclear deal took a critical step towards passage Wednesday, as Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced her support for the deal.
Mikulski is the thirty-fourth senator to endorse the deal. That means even if Congress passes a resolution condemning the deal, President Obama can veto it and not have to worry about having his veto overridden.
If the resolution were successfully passed, it would weaken the Iran deal by removing Obama’s ability to temporarily end sanctions on Iran.
Mikulski acknowledged that she had some concerns with the deal, but not enough to attempt to block it.
“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime,” she said in a statement. “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb. For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal.”
Republican opposition to the Iran deal has thus far been unanimous, and Obama has been lobbying Democrats for months urging them to stand by him. Despite this, Democrats Bob Menendez and Chuck Schumer have both announced their opposition, putting the deal on shaky ground.
Having cleared the veto hurdle, Obama can now set his sights on getting 41 supporters, who would be able to filibuster the resolution and keep it from passing entirely. There are still 10 undecided Democrats, and he’ll need at least 7 of them to endorse the deal to pull off a successful filibuster.
The Iran deal will lift economic sanctions on Iran in return for the country submitting to international inspections and promising not to produce weapons-grade nuclear material. Obama and other supports argue the deal has strong “snapback” provisions allowing sanctions to be reimposed quickly if Iran cheats. Critics argue that the inspections regime is far too weak and that the end of sanctions will provide a huge cash boost to Iran’s regime, allowing it to fund terrorist operations around the world.