President Obama has started work to win over those in Congress who are sceptical over the new framework deal made with Iran over their nuclear program. The preliminary agreement will see the country curb nuclear activities in return for relief from international sanctions.
US Republicans, in particular, have said they may try to derail the agreement and even seek to impose new sanctions on Iran but the White House remains confident that a deal can be reached by the end of June deadline.
President Obama will hold talks with all four congressional leaders on Friday, according to Eric Schultz the White House spokesman. However, Republicans control both Houses of Congress and are talking about a bill to give Congress with right to review any deal before sanctions are lifted. The President has threatened to veto this bill.
In his speech given yesterday, Mr Obama was clearly anticipating issues. He said that is Congress killed the deal without offering a reasonable alternative and without expert analysis, then the US would be responsible for the failure of diplomacy.
Despite the problems, the White House continued to give a positive assessment of the deal with Mr Schultz saying that it defied the odds and while there was work still to be done, they were confident the details would be put into place.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said he will abide by the terms of the preliminary agreement that was signed along with six world powers, as long as those powers abide by their side of the deal. He added that the deal was a step towards a changing relationship between Iran and the world, calling it a ‘day that will remain in the historic memory of Iran.’
He said that there were those who thought Iran’s options were either fight the world or surrender to it but this was a third way that involved cooperation with the world. Mr Rouhani expects to face opposition from conservative critics at home but clerics did praise the agreement in Friday prayers.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal posed a grave danger to his country and the whole region. He believes that the compressive accord needed to include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition that Israel has a right to exist.
The White House responded by saying that the US would never sign a deal that would threaten Israel.
Under the deal, Iran must greatly reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium that can be made into nuclear weapons and get rid of over two-thirds of the centrifuges used to create more uranium.
In return, UN sanctions and measures applied by both the US and the EU will be gradually suspended under the orders of the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).