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Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff Flake9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for The road ahead for America’s highways Graham, Durbin reintroduce bill to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (R-Ariz.), one of the few potential GOP supporters of the international accord over Iran's nuclear program, announced Saturday he would oppose the deal, dealing a blow to the White House.
Flake said in a lengthy statement that while the deal includes limits on Iran's ability to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb for some time, "these benefits are outweighed by severe limitations" on Congress and future administrations "in responding to Iran’s non-nuclear behavior in the region."
“While Congress has received assurances from the administration that it does not forfeit its ability to impose sanctions on Iran for behavior on the non-nuclear side, these assurances do not square with the text of the [agreement]," he said, adding it should have been presented as a treaty for certain caveats.
Flake, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been viewed as more willing than most Republicans to support foreign policy objectives on the part of the Obama administration, including its moves with Cuba.
He had been one of only two Republicans who was either undecided or had not voiced a position on the Iran agreement, according to The Hill's Whip List, and had been lobbied by the White House to vote in favor of the deal.
Flake said last week he thought President Obama would have "votes to sustain a veto." Two-thirds of lawmakers would be needed to oppose the deal for Congress to be able to override an expected veto.
Flake said Saturday he was concerned the deal would make the Obama administration more reluctant to confront Tehran over its activities in the region, giving "Iran leverage it currently doesn't have."
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