Iran Deal will survive, as administration secures 34th vote in Senate

The Iran Deal is a done deal. At least as long as a Democrat holds the White House.

Senator Barbara Mikulski made it official this morning when she became the 34th senator to come out in favor of the deal. Said Mikulski:

Iran Deal negotiations, via Wikimedia Commons

Iran Deal negotiations, via Wikimedia Commons

No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. 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.

That Senator Mikulski is the 34th, decisive vote is a big deal, as she has a staunchly pro-Israel record, bolstering the administration’s case that opposition to the deal is purely political instead of substantive. Now that passage is secured, other Senators whose support would have been more politically difficult — public opinion on the deal is highly volatile, depending on how the questions are framed — are now free to voice their support. At this rate, the administration could conceivably muster forty votes in the Senate, which would prevent a resolution of disapproval from even making it to President Obama’s desk. Thus far, only two Democratic senators — Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez — have said they will opposed the deal.

Securing the passage of the Iran Deal is a major win for the Obama administration, and a rebuke neoconservative foreign policy. The basic framework behind the deal — lifting of harsh economic sanctions in exchange for a long-term freeze on Iran’s nuclear program, backed by a rigorous inspection regime — is widely held as the best, if not only, alternative to an eventual war with the country.

By phasing out the freeze between years ten and fifteen, the deal also represents a big bet on the part of the West that, between now and then, the large and growing Iranian middle class will decide that they like economic growth more than they hate Israel. A big bet, yes, but not an unreasonable one.

And again, the choice is between war being very likely in the near future and war being less likely in the distant future; that’s a no-brainer.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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