Maryland U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) announced her support Wednesday for the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Mikulski’s support for the deal brings the number of senators in favor to 34. That’s the number of votes that President Barack Obama needs to sustain a veto.
Republican majorities in the House and Senate are expected to pass a measure rejecting the Iran agreement. Obama has promised to veto such a measure.
“I have spent countless hours reading, being briefed and pouring over the intelligence,” Mikulski said in a statement.
“Some have suggested we reject this deal and impose unilateral sanctions to force Iran back to the table. But maintaining or stepping up sanctions will only work if the sanction coalition holds together. It’s unclear if the European Union, Russia, China, India and others would continue sanctions if Congress rejects this deal. At best, sanctions would be porous, or limited to unilateral sanctions by the U.S.,” she said.
“There are also those who have proposed military action as an alternative to end Iran’s nuclear program. But taking military air strikes against Iran would only set the program back for three years. It would not terminate the program. Iran would continue to possess the knowledge of how to build a bomb and could redouble its resolve to obtain a weapon, completely unchecked. Iran would almost certainly use Hizballah or other proxies to attack Israel or conduct terrorist- or cyber-attacks against U.S. interests. The military option is always on the table for the United States. We are not afraid to use it. But military action should be the last resort, since it will have only temporary effects versus the longer-term effects of this deal.
“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime,” she continued “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb. For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal. However, Congress must also reaffirm our commitment to the safety and security of Israel.”
Maryland’s other senator, Ben Cardin (D), has yet to announce whether he will support or oppose the deal.