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Obama Locking Up Votes for Iran Deal   09/02 06:27

   President Barack Obama is just one Senate vote shy of being able to declare 
success on the Iran nuclear deal and cement a foreign policy legacy.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is just one Senate vote shy of 
being able to declare success on the Iran nuclear deal and cement a foreign 
policy legacy.

   Senate support for the deal now stands at 33 votes, thanks to announcements 
Tuesday from Democrats Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware.

   Once supporters reach 34 votes, they would be able to uphold Obama's 
expected veto of GOP legislation aimed at blocking the Iran deal. That 
disapproval resolution is set for a vote later this month.

   Secretary of State John Kerry is sending a letter to all members of Congress 
outlining U.S. security commitments to Israel and the Gulf Arab states in light 
of the nuclear deal. The letter comes as Kerry prepares to deliver a major 
policy speech Wednesday in Philadelphia that focuses on how the international 
agreement makes the U.S. and its allies safer and how the deal is being 
mischaracterized by some opponents.

   With opposition to the agreement failing to get traction on the Democratic 
side, supporters may even be able to muster the 41 votes needed to block the 
resolution from passing in the first place, sparing Obama from having to use 
his veto pen. That would require eight of the 11 remaining undeclared senators 
to decide in favor of the deal.

   "This agreement will substantially constrain the Iranian nuclear program for 
its duration, and compared with all realistic alternatives, it is the best 
option available to us at this time," Casey said in a statement. In remarks at 
the University of Delaware, Coons said: "I will support this agreement despite 
its flaws because it is the better strategy for the United States to lead a 
coalesced global community in containing the spread of nuclear weapons."

   Republicans in Congress and running for president unanimously oppose the 
deal, which aims to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from 
economic sanctions. The Israeli government is vehemently against it, contending 
that concessions made to Iran could empower that country, which has sworn to 
destroy Israel. But critics have failed to use Congress' summer recess to turn 
the tide against the agreement, despite a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign 
funded by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

   Only two Democratic senators have come out against the deal --- Chuck 
Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey --- while in recent weeks 
undeclared Democratic senators, even from red states, have broken in favor one 
after another.

   Even if Congress were able to pass the disapproval resolution, it might not 
be enough to stop the deal, which was agreed to among Iran, the United States, 
Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. In July, the U.N. Security Council 
unanimously endorsed the nuclear deal, approving a resolution that would lift 
the international sanctions on Iran in 90 days.


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