President Obama sent a letter to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on Wednesday which promised that “the military option” will be available to his and future administrations in regard to enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Mr. Nadler wrote an August 6 op-ed in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency outlining his concerns with JCPOA, after stating “I do not know yet how I will vote,” on a legislative measure to approve the deal.
Chief among Nadler’s concerns is the “security of the United States and Israel, which has been our strongest ally and closest friend.”
President Obama responded by pointing out his Administration’s continued support of Israel since taking office in 2009.
“Since 2009 . . . the United States has provided over $20.5 billion in foreign military financing (FMF) to Israel . . . Above and beyond our FMF assistance, we have invested an additional $3 billion in the Iron Dome system and other missile defense programs and systems for Israel.”
Mr. Obama went on to point out in the letter that he would like to “accelerate the ongoing collaborative research and development for tunnel detection and mapping technologies,” between the U.S. and Israel.
Congress will vote in mid-September on a resolution disapproving JCPOA, but White House officials believe they have enough Democratic votes in both chambers to uphold a Presidential veto, according to Bloomberg.
Currently, 24 Democrats and two independents in the Senate have publicly supported the Iran deal. Eight more Democratic votes are then needed to sustain a veto – 18 Senate Democrats are undecided.
In the House, 241 members (230 Republicans, 11 Democrats), have said that they oppose JCPOA. 53 Democrats support the nuclear agreement.
In order for Congress to override an executive veto, a two-thirds majority in both chambers is required (67 Senate, 290 House).
The President’s August 19 letter seems to have achieved its objective, as Mr. Nadler issued an August 21 public response explaining his reasons for issuing an op-ed in the first place, and reacting to Mr. Obama’s personal correspondence.
“Most troubling to me were questions about our ability to permanently stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb . . . Iran’s continued destabilizing influence through support of terrorism and other actions that threaten Israel’s security,” Nadler wrote.
He continued at the end of the letter with, “I am gratified that the President’s response satisfies a number of these concerns.”
Also mentioned in Mr. Obama’s letter to Rep. Nadler were a host of other Democratic Congress-people who had voiced concerns with the Iranian agreement, including Reps. Adam Schiff (CA), Susan Davis (CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), and Alan Lowenthal (CA).
To-date, there has been no public support of the nuclear deal from any Congressional Republicans.
JCPOA was signed in Vienna on July 14 by the so-called P5+1 countries (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany). The terms of the agreement call for easing Iranian nuclear sanctions in return for disarmament.
[New York Times] [Bloomberg] [Jewish Telegraphic Agency] [nadler.house.gov] [Photo courtesy AP]