Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii serving in the U.S. Senate, is the first member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation to take a stand on the Iran nuclear deal.

In a statement released by his office Monday, Schatz said:

“After multiple readings, numerous briefings with officials, discussions with experts outside of government, consultations with my constituents and my colleagues, I am satisfied that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best approach to deny Iran a nuclear weapon and place its nuclear program under strict international supervision.”

Schatz’s announcement means 17 Democrats in the Senate now support the deal. President Barack Obama needs 34 votes in that chamber to sustain a presidential veto, should Congress reject the deal.

Senator Brian Schatz. washington DC. 26 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Sen. Brian Schatz is the first member of the Hawaii congressional delegation to decide on the proposed Iran deal.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

A spokesman for Hawaii’s other Democrat in the Senate, Mazie Hirono, told Civil Beat on Monday that the senator had not yet taken a position. The Hill says Hirono is one of 21 Democrats who are “unclear” or “undecided” on the matter.

The only Democrat in the Senate to announce opposition to the deal so far is Chuck Schumer of New York.

Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is among seven Democrats who are said to be leaning in favor of the historic accord. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, also supports the deal.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Obama needs 145 votes to sustain a veto.

A spokesman for Rep. Mark Takai said the Democrat is undecided but is looking forward to hearings on the Iran deal before the House Armed Services Committee, once Congress returns to Washington in September after the lengthy August recess.

UPDATE: Takai is a member of the Armed Services Committee, as is Hawaii’s other Democrat representative, Tulsi Gabbard. In a statement to Civil Beat Monday, Gabbard said:

“I’m continuing to examine the deal carefully, gathering more information from experts who have studied this issue extensively, and getting my questions answered. One area that remains of great concern in the inspections regime is a vulnerability that would make covert weaponization research and development difficult if not impossible to detect. This activity can be covered up or moved quickly, making it difficult for inspectors to find. I look forward to getting my questions on this and other issues answered before I make my decision on what course of action best serves our country.”

Late last month, Takai was targeted by the activist group Code Pink for accepting an invitation to visit Israel and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while the deal is under congressional consideration.

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