Republican senators, including some vociferously opposed to the Iranian nuclear deal, are now less confident they will be able to overcome a veto by US President Barack Obama of a resolution removing US sanctions against Iran.
"I still believe the president will have enough votes to sustain a veto," Arizona Republican junior Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said in an interview.
That the Senate will be able to pass a bill supporting the sanctions and opposing the Iran deal is not in question, Flake believes, but overriding a presidential veto of the bill is another question, he said.
Just last week, senior Arizona Senator John McCain said that that he was “confident” there were 60 Senate votes against the deal. Although he was less positive about getting the 67 votes needed to override a veto, he was encouraged by the prospect of New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and other Democrats voting to keep sanctions.
This week, however, a number of Democratic senators have declared their support for the Iran deal, putting the prospect of a veto override further out of reach, Flake believes.
“I’m getting a lot of calls," Flake said in the interview with the Arizona Republic. "My concern has been that we are, with this agreement, giving up some of the tools that we have used in the past or could use in the future to deter or punish that kind of behavior."
"The administration says, no, we're not giving up our ability, for example, to impose sanctions,” he added. “But if you read the agreement, it seems to indicate otherwise, and the Iranians certainly believe otherwise, and have said so.”