US: Senate Democrats block Republican effort to defeat Iran deal

11th Sep 2015
US: Senate Democrats block Republican effort to defeat Iran deal

WASHINGTON (AA): Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully blocked a Republican push to undermine a nuclear deal international powers struck with Iran, handing President Barack Obama a hard-fought victory.

“This Iran agreement is our opportunity to test tough diplomacy,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement on social media. “Let’s join together in a force to make this a more peaceful world.”

The 58-42 procedural vote was two short of allowing a resolution of disapproval to proceed to a final vote in the 100-member chamber.

“To my Democratic friends: you own this,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on the Senate floor. “You own every ‘i’ and every ‘t’, and every bullet, and you own everything that’s to follow. And it’s going to be holy hell.”

The resolution will now be unable to proceed to Obama’s desk, where he promised to veto the bill should it pass the federal legislature.

The bill’s defeat marks a critical victory for Obama, who has made the international pact a hallmark of his foreign policy legacy.

The American president hailed the Senate’s action, saying in a statement that it was a “historic” advancement.

“This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world,” Obama said. “Going forward, we will turn to the critical work of implementing and verifying this deal so that Iran cannot pursue a nuclear weapon, while pursuing a foreign policy that leaves our country — and the world — a safer place.”

House Republicans are continuing to search for a way to derail the agreement, but with a congressional review period set to expire Sept. 17 their efforts look unlikely to bear concrete results.

One avenue they may pursue is passing a measure that would say the Obama administration has not filed all related documents for the review period to begin. Likely at issue is a bilateral agreement between UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, and Iran that administration officials have been briefed on, but have not received.

A vote on the measure may occur as soon as Thursday evening.

Obama will be free to begin pulling back U.S.-imposed sanctions next week, fulfilling a key requirement of the internationally brokered agreement that gives Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for unprecedented access and curbs on its nuclear program.

Author: Michael Hernandez
[Photo: US Capitol building in Washington. Senate Democrats successfully blocked a Republican push to undermine a nuclear deal international powers struck with Iran. Photographer: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

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