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Key lawmakers oppose Iran nuclear deal, Obama can veto disapproval

The US congress has 60 days to review and approve or disapprove the deal, which President Obama has tried to sell as the only, and better, alternative to military action. He has called it the “strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated”.

world Updated: Aug 08, 2015 01:04 IST
HT Correspondent

Two senior Democratic congressmen, both Jewish, announced on Thursday their opposition to the contentious Iran deal delivering a major blow to President Barack Obama.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the second senior-most Democrat in the senate in a statement that “after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”

Representative Eliot Engel followed up in a separate statement.

The US congress has 60 days to review and approve or disapprove the deal, which President Obama has tried to sell as the only, and better, alternative to military action. He has called it the “strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated”.

Obama can, however, veto the disapproval. But not if the proposal reaches his desk with the support of two-third of the members of Congress. That will kill the deal.

Administration officials have argued in multiple hearings, testimonies and speeches that congressional rejection would be disastrous for efforts to prevent Iran from weaponising its nuclear programme. Without the support of its allies, who back the agreement, the US will find it difficult then to enforce the crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table.

“Walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal — for Iran,” Obama said in a speech earlier this week.

But the country and, therefore, lawmakers remain divided on the deal, across party and ideological lines, making the administration’s task of preventing opponents from reaching that over-ride number.

Republicans are mostly against the deal and plan to bring a legislation opposing the deal in both chambers of Congress — which they control — in September.