PHOENIX – Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, the lone Republican senator who was considering support for the Iran nuclear deal, announced
plans on Saturday to vote no, dealing a significant blow to the White House’s efforts to garner bipartisan backing for the controversial accord.
Flake, a freshman who had praised President Barack Obama for seeking a diplomatic solution, had been publicly undecided, making him a top target of the White House’s concerted lobbying campaign. Senate vote-counters had considered Flake the only truly undecided Republican vote, although his fellow Republicans had expressed confidence he would oppose it. “I cannot vote in support of this deal,” Flake said. In a statement issued while Congress was on its annual August recess, Flake said he was concerned that the deal severely limits lawmakers’ ability to sanction Iran for activities unrelated to its nuclear program.