Israel pressures US Congress to block any Iran deal

Israel pressures US Congress to block any Iran deal
As the clock ticks on a possible nuclear deal between Iran, US and other powers, Israel plans to sabotage any accord through targeted pressure on members of the US Congress.
3 min read
06 July, 2015
US House Speaker John Boehner (L) with Israeli PM [Getty]

The statements and warnings that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had issued in the past two days over the "further concessions" that Western countries are making to Iran in a forthcoming Nuclear deal, reflect an Israeli recognition that the deal is imminent, a deal that Israelis classify as "bad".

Netanyahu's statements also reflect Israeli recognition of their failure to frustrate the ongoing negotiations, particularly after recent statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry about the two parties having made progress in the talks.

On their website, Israeli national daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that Tel Aviv, which seeks to make amendments to the agreement, is preparing to obstruct the agreement from being approved at its first stage when the US Congress gets to vote on it.

In case Congress rejected the agreement, Obama will be forced to exercise his right to veto its decision

The newspaper added that the Israeli government will exert pressure on members of the US Congress to oppose the agreement and prevent US President Barak Obama from ratifying it in case the agreement was submitted to Congress for endorsement before 9 July. Otherwise, the vote will have to wait sixty more days as Congress would leave for its August recess after the 30-day review period that legislation provides for.

In case Congress rejected the agreement, Obama will be forced to exercise his right to veto its decision and to decide on a time for another Congressional vote. However, Congress can override the veto with a difficult two-thirds majority.

Israeli efforts to thwart an agreement is not limited to putting pressure on members of Congress but also through continuous talks with the British and French governments.

Haaretz, another Israeli newspaper, had pointed out that Israel depends to a certain degree on the stance of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Fabius is one of Europe's foreign ministers' most stringent supporters of imposing sanctions on Iran and he had the greatest influence on not allowing sanctions on Iran to be lifted until now.

Haaretz attributed Fabius' opposition to the current nuclear agreement to his tough stances towards Iran since the 1980s, when he was prime minister in President Francois Mitterrand's government. Fabius took Iraq's side during its war with Iran following the Islamic revolution. He also supported the Arab states' opposition to a nuclear agreement with Iran.

The paper pointed out that Fabius' participation in the negotiations would make it difficult to reach an agreement but at the same time it would ensure that, in case an agreement is reached, the Americans would announce that they were able to convince Fabius of the value of this agreement.