Franken and Klobuchar come out in support of Iran nuclear deal


Minnesota's two U.S. Senators publicly came out in support of the negotiated Iran nuclear agreement this week – bolstering support in the Senate for a deal that's been heavily scrutinized and risks not having enough votes to survive.

Franken, in his second term as senator, detailed his support in an op-ed for CNN Thursday, saying his decision came "after careful review."

He writes: "Many have expressed reservations about the deal, and I share some of those reservations. It isn't a perfect agreement. But it is a strong one. This agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon anytime in the next 15 years."

Franken, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency notes, is the fifth Jewish senator to publicly come out in support of the deal. There are currently 10 Jewish senators – nine are Democrats, the other is an independent.

Earlier this week, Klobuchar put out her own explanation for supporting the deal.

"While the agreement is by no means perfect, I have concluded that it is our best available option to put the brakes on Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon and that is why I will support it," she said.

What's in the deal exactly?

Proponents, including the White House, say it effectively prevents Iran from building a nuclear bomb by blocking potential paths to its creation, and requiring international inspectors be allowed to monitor a number of sites.

Critics, Newsweek says, argue the inspection system is weak and the time limits problematic. There's also criticism that it puts Israel in harm's way.

A writer over at Vox.com went through the deal and pulled out all the complicated political terms, then explained them in plain English. So click over to that if you want a clean, simple explanation.

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If you want to read the full deal, you can do so here.

Counting votes in the Senate

The deal has been heavily scrutinized since being announced in July.

Lawmakers against it, most (but not all) of whom are Republicans, have threatened to sink the deal by passing a congressional resolution of disapproval, the Huffington Post writes. Because GOPers are expected to all fall on that side, they have enough votes to pass the resolution when it comes up in September.

However, as president, Obama can issue a veto – and if he does, both the House and Senate would need at least two-thirds of their members to vote in favor of overriding that veto, the Huffington Post explains.

That doesn't look likely to happen in the House. In the Senate, things are much tighter, which is why Obama is wants the support of Democrats such as Franken and Klobuchar.

Obama needs 34 senators supporting the deal in order to keep it alive. That's enough to prevent opponents from having enough votes to override a potential veto.

The Hill is keeping track of support in the Senate, and currently has 19 senators in favor of it. Eight more are "leaning yes," pushing it to 27. Eighteen are unclear or undecided, and one Democrat has come out against it.

For math's sake: 29 Republicans are against it, another 23 are leaning no, and two are unknown or undecided.

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