Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state lauds deal for pushing Iran ‘away from a nuclear weapons threshold’

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) at a 2012 rally in Seattle. (Flickr/CarlB104/CC BY 2.0)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) at a 2012 rally in Seattle. (Flickr/CarlB104/CC BY 2.0)


Senator Maria Cantwell, the lone undecided Democrat, joined President Barack Obama’s camp late Tuesday, becoming the 42nd senator to back the Iran nuclear agreement.

Cantwell’s announcement wraps up a flurry of support for the deal among Senators thought unlikely just a few weeks ago. Earlier Tuesday, the Obama administration gained the support of senators Richard Blumethal, Ron Wyden and Gary Peters, giving democrats the option of delaying the vote to disapprove the deal indefinitely via a filibuster.

Cantwell said in a statement she supported the pact because it “pushes Iran further away from a nuclear weapons threshold.”

“Because the agreement calls for reduction of highly enriched uranium stockpiles, bringing centrifuges offline and converting key nuclear infrastructure to civilian use, including nuclear reactors, it moves Iran’s breakout time from two months to one year,” she said, according to

“Additionally, Iran will be required to allow international monitoring into all supply chains for goods and materials used for its civilian nuclear program.”

“The agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council,” said Cantwell. “It puts the United States and the world community in a stronger position to take any action necessary if Iran violates this agreement. To verify Iran’s compliance, and to ensure transparency and accountability, the agreement will provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with unprecedented access to monitor and inspect Iran’s activities.”

As lawmakers returned from their summer recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would ask “all senators to be present in the chamber” to debate the merits and shortcomings of the international agreement aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining an atomic bomb by exchanging curbs on Iran’s nuclear program for relief of international sanctions.

Congress resumed just as the White House earned a major victory in securing support for the deal from 41 senators, the number needed to block a resolution disapproving of the controversial accord.

Should 41 or more vote against advancing the Republican-backed resolution, a blocking procedure known as a filibuster, the effort to kill the landmark agreement would remain bogged down in the 100-member Senate.

Some Democrats, including Senator Chris Coons, have suggested they would prefer a direct up-or-down vote on the resolution instead of blocking it.

McConnell sought a final vote as well, and called on “every senator to resist attempts to obstruct a final vote and deny the American people and Congress the say they deserve on this important issue.”

The White House had launched an all-out effort to get lawmakers to back the international agreement that scales back Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.

Despite a Republican-driven lobbying push against the accord, Obama last month had won enough support to sustain the veto he would lodge if Congress were to disapprove of the deal. Four Senate Democrats stand opposed to the deal, but the rest have all declared their support.

The White House made the president’s veto threat official Tuesday, warning that sabotaging the agreement would prod Iran into resuming its nuclear program.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on its resolution of disapproval later this week.

As reported by The Times of Israel