Swedish lawmakers on Tuesday adopted a controversial defense deal with the United States, which critics fear could lead to the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent US bases in the country, Report informs via Le Monde.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is a major step for a nation that in March ended two centuries of military non-alliance to join NATO.

Signed by Stockholm and Washington in December, the deal gives the US access to 17 military bases and training areas in Sweden and allows the storage of weapons, military equipment, and ammunition.

The agreement was approved by a broad majority in parliament following an almost five-hour debate, with 266 MPs voting in favor and 37 against, while 46 were absent.