Obama sending letters to skeptical Democrats on Iran deal

US President Barack Obama sends personal letters to gain votes of skeptical Democratic members on Iran deal

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

US President Barack Obama

Iran nuclear deal is highly expected to be rejected by the Republican majority Congress next month, however, Obama’s lobbying efforts to garner enough support to prevent a majority large enough to override his veto to secure the landmark deal is still ongoing.

As latest example of his efforts, President Barack Obama addressed Jewish Congressman Jerrold Nadler in a letter dated Aug. 18, aiming to convince Democratic congressional members who are skeptical about the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama’s efforts over Democrats seem to be proving effective. Jerrold Nadler on Friday announced that he is with president's landmark nuclear deal. This move makes Nadler the only Jewish Congress member from New York agreeing with Obama’s agenda.

Nadler was one of the 22 Congress Democratic delegates that listened to Aug. 9 briefing given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iran deal. Another attendee to Netanyahu’s speech, House minority whip Steny Hoyer said Israeli president “gave a very rational presentation about why he thinks this deal is not in the best interest of the United States, Israel and the region.”

Prospects of the Iran deal is mainly up to a small number of Democrats that will decide whether to take a bipartisan agenda or to fail Democratic President Obama on his political move that he thinks is essential in curbing Iran’s nuclear power. Therefore, each Democratic vote is important for Obama in achieving his agenda.

Republicans that constitute the majority in both houses believe that the Iran deal will only serve Iran by providing a path to the bomb, therefore a positive outcome from Congress on the deal is not expected. However, Obama said he would veto any legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran or prevent him from suspending the existing ones.

Overriding the president’s veto would require the approval of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, in which case the Republicans would need the support of dozens of Democrats.

Senate needs 13 Democrats to override a veto, while votes of 44 members from House are required, assuming all Republicans vote to block the deal. There are already 11 House Democrats, and two Senate members that announced their opposition. Twenty-six of the 44 Senate Democrats expressed their support to the deal.

Obama’s letter read that the US will maintain every option to prevent Iran from manipulating the deal that gives the country an immediate relief from the economic sanctions that have long crippled its economy.

Obama said he believes the risks taken in the agreement with Iran should be prevented outside the frame of the deal. He stressed that to prevent Iran from manipulating the nuclear agreement, the US would cooperate with Israel to provide additional security and fund Israel for missile defence systems. US president further added that the US will leave military action as an option.

One of the main reasons anti-deal lawmakers put forward is that relief from economic sanctions will make Iran prosper and may assist them in a potential terrorism agenda. In the letter, Obama touched upon this issue and explained that if needed, the US would gradually reimpose economic sanctions.

The nuclear deal is under congressional review and the legislative body has until Sept.17 to ratify or reject it.

A failure to push the deal through the Congress would hurt Obama's legacy, who already made historical moves by reopening US Embassy in Cuba, withdrawing troops from Iraq and killing Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda leader behind 9/11 attacks.


TRTWorld and agencies