Obama Seals the Iran Deal

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

John Kerry can take a victory lap during a speech this morning in Philadelphia.

The secretary of state is slated to speak about the Iran nuclear agreement at 11 a.m. at the National Constitution Center. As Kerry readied for the speech, Senator Barbara Milkulski announced her support for it, giving Kerry and his boss the 34 votes they need to guarantee that Congress can’t block the agreement.

For several weeks, it’s looked likely Obama would get enough Democratic support, even after Chuck Schumer, the presumptive next Democratic Senate leader, came out against it. On Tuesday, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, who’d expressed misgivings about the deal publicly, announced he would support it, as did Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Coons’s support, in particular, was expected to help bring along the holdouts.

(The process is byzantine: Rather than giving the deal a yes-or-no, the Senate can vote to disapprove it. Obama would then veto the Senate resolution, but he needs to ensure enough support that the veto can’t be overridden.)

Speaking on Morning Joe, Kerry previewed his speech, defending the agreement’s strength and noting that a host of international corporations are eager to rush into Iran—meaning going back to status quo ante isn’t really an option.