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Iran nuclear deal set to go through after US Congress agrees -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In a big win for the White House, the international agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon will almost certainly go ahead.

The deal has been agreed to by Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany - as well as the US and Iran.

But its future was resting on the US Congress - where Republicans, and some Democrats, were expected to vote it down this month - effectively killing the agreement.

Overnight though, Barack Obama got the numbers he needed to save it.

North America correspondent Ben Knight reports from Washington.

BEN KNIGHT: When it comes to the Iran deal with, Republican presidential candidates speak with one voice.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is a horrific deal.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world.

BEN KNIGHT: There's been a strong and well-funded lobby campaign against it.

EXTRACT FROM ADVERTISEMENT: Tell your senators to stop any deal that would let Iran get nuclear weapons, ever.

ANNOUNCER: Mr Speaker, the prime minister of Israel.

BEN KNIGHT: Benjamin Netanyahu even came to Washington to implore Congress to vote against the deal - to the deep annoyance of the White House.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb.

BEN KNIGHT: But in the end, it didn't work.

The Republican's who control Congress will still vote against the deal, with some Democrats for support, but they won't have the two-thirds majority they need to override president Barack Obama's veto.

For the White House, it's a win.

But it's far from emphatic, as the US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledges.

JOHN KERRY: Obviously 34 votes are enough votes for the president's veto to be able to be upheld but we're not, you know, that's not the way we're approaching this. We want anybody and everybody hopefully to be able to vote for it.

We're going to continue to try to persuade people up until the last moment and our hope is that number will grow obviously.

BEN KNIGHT: So the deal will go ahead and after years of crippling economic sanctions, Iran will once again be able to sell its oil on the international market.

It will get access to $100 billion in assets frozen overseas and it will be able to use the global financial system for trade.

In return, Iran has agreed to reduce its uranium stockpile by 98 per cent, to allow inspectors into its nuclear and military sites and to keep its enrichment levels below 4 per cent.

The White House says this agreement reduces Iran's breakout time to develop a bomb from a few months to at least ten years and most importantly, prevents another war in the Middle East.

But critics say Iran has shown it can, and will, cheat on the deal by continuing to develop a weapon in secret.

They also say this does nothing to free American prisoners in Iran or to stop Iran's terrorist activities in the Middle East - from Baghdad to Beirut.

So, while the deal might be done, it's not over yet as far as Republican candidates like Scott Walker are concerned.

SCOTT WALKER: I'm frustrated that there's not enough votes to block it today and as president, I will terminate that bad deal on day one. I'll reinstate the sanctions, I'll go to Congress to put in place even more crippling sanctions and I'll get, I'll convince our allies to do the same.

This is Ben Knight in Washington reporting for AM.