- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced Tuesday that she opposes the Iran nuclear deal, splitting with Maine’s other senator, independent Angus King, who supports the proposal.

The announcement by Collins on the Senate floor ended President Barack Obama’s last hope for getting a Republican to support the agreement, though his administration has said enough support has been secured to preserve it.

“The agreement is fundamentally flawed because it leaves Iran as capable of building a nuclear weapon at the expiration of the agreement as it is today,” she said.

Collins was one of the Republicans who chose not to sign a letter to leaders of the Iranian government during negotiations, and she held out for more time to study the nuclear agreement before announcing her decision.

Her announcement came as the White House and Senate Democrats locked up enough votes to frustrate attempts by Republicans to pass a legislative rebuke to the Iran nuclear accord.

Collins noted that centrifuges needed to created material for a nuclear bomb won’t be destroyed and the agreement lifts an embargo on selling intercontinental missile technology to Iran, leaving Iran poised to build a nuclear weapon once the deal expires.

“At that time, Iran will be a more dangerous and stronger nuclear threshold state - exactly the opposite of what this negotiation should have produced,” she said.

Three previously undeclared Senate Democrats - Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Peters of Michigan - announced Tuesday that they were supporting the international agreement.

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