Murray backs Iran deal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Policymaking commission offers a glimmer of hope in hyper-partisan Washington Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Wash.) threw her political support behind the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday, after more than a month of relative silence on the agreement. 

"I support this deal because I believe it puts us in a better and stronger position to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons now and in the future — even if they continue down their current extreme path, and even if they get worse," she said. "This deal gives us more tools to respond — not less, and it keeps the international community behind us in that effort."

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Murray, who compared the upcoming vote to the votes on going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, dismissed the idea that Congress could reject the deal and get Iran to agree to a better one. 
 
"I have heard directly from top ambassadors representing our P5+1 partners as well as members of the Administration that starting over is not an option," she said. "Additionally, Iran would be spending the time it took to renegotiate a new deal to continue expanding their nuclear program."
 
She added that while the agreement "is not a perfect deal," it is "the best chance we have at a strong diplomatic solution, it puts us in a stronger position no matter what Iran chooses to do, and it keeps all of our options on the table if Iran doesn't hold up their end of the bargain."
 
Murray is the 29th Senate Democrat to publicly support the agreement, according to The Hill's whip list. She was the highest ranking Democrat to be still undecided after Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came out in support of the deal over the weekend. 
 
The Iran deal has split Senate Democratic leadership, with Murray, Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) backing the agreement. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the anticipated next Democratic leader in the upper chamber, will oppose it. 
 
Murray's announcement puts Obama five votes away from the 34 needed to uphold a veto in the Senate, ensuring the Iran nuclear deal survives Congress. 
 
Opponents of the Iran face an uphill climb, needing to convince 11 of the remaining 15 undecided Democrats to buck Obama if they want to override a potential veto.  
 
Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) are the only Senate Democrats who have said they will vote against the agreement. 
 
The Senate is expected to take up a resolution of disapproval shortly after returning from the August recess, on Sept. 8. Congress has until Sept. 17 to pass legislation and until early October to override a potential veto. 
 
Murray said that while she will support the deal, she will push the administration to monitor how Iran is using the money it gets from sanctions relief, and suggested another round of international negotiations may be needed in 15 years. 

"If we find ourselves at the end of this deal facing an Iran still threatening to develop a nuclear weapon, we will need to address that the same way we are doing so today — with strong resolve, all options on the table, and a unified international message that Iran developing a nuclear weapon is not acceptable," she added. 

Murray also touted her support for Israel, whose government is opposed to the deal, saying that she will work to make sure the agreement "is implemented and enforced in a way that works for our strong friend and ally."