Senate poised to back Iran nuclear deal

US senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced today that she would support the Iran nuclear deal, providing the White House the votes it needs to prevent Republicans from scuttling the agreement.

The announcement means that at least 34 senators — the number required by the Constitution to sustain a veto — will back Obama’s expected veto of a Republican resolution to disapprove of the deal.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the administration will continue to try and push support for the deal past the 34 votes they now have “until the last moment.”

“Thirty-four votes are obviously enough votes for the president’s veto to be upheld,” Kerry told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “That is not satisfactory for us. We do want to try to go further. We’ll continue to persuade.”

Mikulski’s decision clears the way for the US to adopt the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in July along with the UN and the EU in time for the adoption-day deadline on 8 October.

The next step is for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to complete its review of Iran’s nuclear facilities. A final report on this is to be submitted to the IAEA board by 15 December. Once it is approved, the JCPOA calls for nuclear-related sanctions to be lifted on what is named implementation day.

This could be before the end of 2015, experts say.