US lawmakers to vote on Iran nuclear deal
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Republican lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation to approve or reject the nuclear agreement struck between six world powers and Iran last month.
Under the Iran Nuclear Review Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in May, the Republican-led Congress has until September 17 to approve or reject the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers announced on July 14.
The top Republican in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, confirmed that the Senate is likely to consider a disapproval resolution, which could cripple the agreement.
But Obama's diplomatic initiative has won important support in Congress among his fellow Democrats. Among them is Senator Bill Nelson, who some observers had considered a potential swing vote, and who has said he will back the deal.
"As dangerous a threat as Iran is to Israel and our allies, it would pale in the threat posed to them and to us by a nuclear-armed Iran," Nelson said in a Senate speech announcing his decision.
‘Path to the bomb’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposes the nuclear agreement, calling it a threat to the survival of the Jewish state.
Netanyahu made his case in a live webcast with more than 10,000 participants, according to the US Jewish groups that organised the event.
"The nuclear deal with Iran doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb," he said. "It actually paves Iran's path to the bomb."
Obama was to hold a private meeting at the White House later Tuesday with Jewish leaders - some who support the deal, some who oppose it and others whose organisations are undecided.
The direct appeals from Obama and Netanyahu come amid an intense lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers plan to vote on the nuclear deal next month. The vote will be one of Congress' most significant national security decisions in recent years.
As only one chamber of Congress is needed to sustain a veto, the White House is focusing its lobbying efforts on getting enough Democrats to do so.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that the White House is confident it can sustain a veto, "at least in the House".
Obama is expected to give a speech on Wednesday outlining what he sees as the strengths of the nuclear deal.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)