Hawaiian Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats, poised for filibuster defeat, pick at old wounds Schumer prepares for Senate floor showdown with Manchin, Sinema Dems worry they'll be boxed out without changes to filibuster, voting rules MORE (D) is putting her support behind the nuclear deal with Iran.
The deal, Hirono said in a statement on Tuesday morning, means that Iran’s nuclear program “will be disabled for many years.”
“While this agreement is not perfect, it has gained broad national and international support, including 29 top American nuclear scientists, of which six are Nobel laureates,” she added.
“This agreement is the best option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapon program.”
The announcement is a boost to the Obama administration, which has seen a steady stream of Senate Democrats come out in support of the agreement in recent weeks.
Hirono is the 21st Senate Democat to back the deal. Only two Senate Democrats have come out in opposition: Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who is set to take over as the Democratic leader in the next Congress, and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
Hawaii's other Democratic senator, Brian Schatz, voiced his support for the deal early last week.
No Republicans have backed the deal so far, and the GOP needs to win over six Democrats to beat back a Democratic filibuster of a motion disapproving the deal.
Hirono, a member of both the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, said that Iran is currently “on the verge of successfully developing numerous nuclear bombs” but that the deal will “halt” that progress.
The freshman senator also said rejecting the deal would not prompt international diplomats to return to the negotiating table for a new, potentially better accord.
“In fact, at a recent meeting of leaders from our partner nations, I specifically asked the ambassadors to the U.S. from China, the United Kingdom, and Russia whether their countries would come back to negotiate again should the U.S. walk away from the deal,” she said. “They unanimously said, ‘No,’ that there was already a deal — the one before Congress.”
—Updated at 2:49 p.m.
Despite her support for the agreement, Hirono said that she maintained some concerns about Iran’s support for terrorism and would support “increased efforts” to counter its power within the region.