After President Barack Obama received the number of votes in Congress he needed in order to make the Iran nuclear deal a reality, Sen. Ben Cardin announced Friday that he will oppose the pending nuclear agreement with Iran, The Baltimore Sun reports
The top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joins two other Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer of New York and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Cardin says that he waited for Sen. Barbara Mikulski to be the 34th senator in support of the plan before he declared his position — limiting the influence he might have had on wavering Democrats.
"There's high risk in both directions, but I think the risk is higher in the long run by going forward with this agreement," Cardin told The Baltimore Sun. "Under this agreement, Iran is permitted to be able to enrich to a level that will take them extremely close to break out."
While Obama needed 34 votes to sustain his expected veto of a GOP-led resolution that disapproves the agreement, Democrats were hoping for 41 votes, which now may be reduced due to Cardin's recent announcement.
"I'm not trying to convince anybody," Cardin said, as five Democrats have yet to declare their position on the issue. "Everybody's trying to make their own judgment."
Cardin, who is known for applauding the Obama administration for its efforts on the issue, told Secretary of State John Kerry that he was leaning against the plan on Tuesday but has yet to speak to the president, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Cardin is the second lawmaker in Maryland to oppose the controversial deal. The senator added that, "[t]here are things in this agreement that should not have been in this agreement," the Sun reports.
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