Obama secures enough support to avoid veto to save Iran deal

Obama secures enough Senate votes to prevent Congress from passing resolution of disapproval on landmark Iran deal

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) leads colleagues in a rally in support of the nuclear deal with Iran on the East Front steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 8, 2015.

Updated Sep 10, 2015

The number of US Senators declaring support for the Iran nuclear deal reached 42 on Tuesday, ensuring that President Barack Obama will not need to use his veto power to secure the fate of the agreement.

Democratic Senators, Richard Blumenthal, Gary Peters, Ron Wyden and Maria Cantwell announced their support after Senate’s summer recess ended, taking the tally of the votes in support of the deal to over forty, which means a resolution of disapproval will not pass the US Congress.

On September 2, US President Barack Obama, achieved enough support to secure the fate of his “signature foreign policy issue” as number of US senators declaring support for the Iran nuclear deal reached 34.

That meant enough votes to prevent Congress from overriding a veto from the president, which he declared he would use against any resolution aimed at blocking the deal.

Still, for the deal to survive without a veto, Obama needed a minimum of forty-one votes to block Congress from passing a resolution of disapproval.

The fact that Iran deal’s fate will not be bound to a presidential veto is considered to give the world the message of a determined Washington, especially after many vocal oppositions from the Republican caucus. GOP members are unanimously opposed to the deal. They argue the deal is a “big mistake” that would lead Iran in a path towards a nuclear bomb.

Until recently, the prospects of the deal were not clear, especially after several Democrats announced their opposition to the deal.

There have been intense lobbying efforts from both supporters and opponents of the deal to convince the congressmen. While disagreement voiced by several Democrats indicated that anti-deal lobbying was yielding results, apparently, the efforts were not enough to kill the nuclear deal.

On the other hand Obama and his White House administration has been working vigorously to convince the lawmakers -especially skeptical Democrats- in US Congress to support the deal.

Their efforts has proved to be successful. For instance, Ron Wyden, during announcing his “yes vote” stated "This agreement with the duplicitous and untrustworthy Iranian regime falls short of what I had envisioned. However, I have decided the alternatives are even more dangerous."

It is almost certain that announced commitments will reflect to Congressional votes. Senior Fellow at the The Centre for International Governance Innovation, Bessma Momani, stated on a TRT WORLD interview that there are number of commitments from prominent senators to secure the deal. “Obama administration is very comfortable at this point,” she said.

The nuclear deal was finalized on July 14 between Iran and the P5+1 powers -Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - it is aimed at monitoring Iran's most sensitive nuclear work for over 12 years, in exchange for immediate relief for the country from economic sanctions that have long crippled its economy.

US President Barack Obama on Jul 14, held a televised press conference at the White House and called the nuclear deal with Iran an opportunity worth seizing and warned the US Congress that he would veto any legislation that prevents its successful implementation. Responding to the opponents of the deal who claim Iran is not to be trusted with its nuclear power, Obama emphasized that the deal is built on “verification, not trust.” Obama administration repeatedly stated the deal is essential in curbing Iran’s nuclear power and it would be “irresponsible” to reject this opportunity.

During her September 8th speech in support of the deal, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said “We stand here united in observance of this transformational nuclear agreement. An agreement founded not on trust, but on verification, vigilance, and enforcement. Tonight, we stand, members of Congress, on the steps of the Capitol, as members totally committed to preventing a nuclear armed Iran.”


TRTWorld and agencies