U.S. President Barack Obama achieved perhaps the greatest foreign policy victory of his six years in office on Thursday, when a Republican-backed effort to kill the Iran nuclear agreement was narrowly blocked in the U.S. Senate, clearing the way for the deal’s implementation.
Forty Democrats and two independents voted to block a resolution disapproving of the pact in the 100-member chamber, one more than the minimum needed to keep it from advancing.
“This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world,” Obama said in a statement after a vote he termed “an historic step forward.”
Senate Republicans insisted the fight was not over, however.The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, immediately took steps to clear the way for the chamber to consider the matter again, hoping some Democrats would vote differently next time.
“We’ll revisit the issue next week and see if maybe any folks want to change their minds,” he said in a speech angrily denouncing the vote.
Under a law Obama signed in May, Congress has a 60-day period ending on Sept. 17 to pass a resolution disapproving of the international agreement.
If such a resolution were to pass, and survive Obama’s promised veto, it would bar the president from waiving many U.S. sanctions on Tehran, a key component of the nuclear deal.
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