Democratic Senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkley, became the 31st senator to support the Iran nuclear deal on Sunday, as momentum heightens behind the agreement the Obama administration and other world powers negotiated with Tehran.
"I believe the agreement, titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is the best available strategy to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Merkley wrote in a statement published on Medium.com
Obama has been trying to gain 34 votes in the Senate to guarantee that the lawmakers don’t annihilate the deal.
Thus far, Obama has 31 senators who support the deal, all of which are Democrats.
Merkley's backing on Sunday put backers within reach of the 34 votes required to defend a presidential veto of a congressional resolution, disapproving the agreement, which interferes with Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
The deal has been unanimously rejected by Republicans, but with a crashing number of Senate Democrats who are in favor, which several of them have already started to aim to build 41 yes votes that could annihilate the disapproval of the resolution completely in the Senate and protect Obama from having to use his veto pen.
Merkley said that while he thinks the deal has "significant shortcomings," it’s the best strategy to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
A vote on the Iran nuclear deal with the US as well as the other world powers to negotiate with Iran is scheduled for September 17.