After Obama’s Long Battle for Iran Deal, the Tough Fight Begins

NYT FDCarl Hulse 7/15/2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 10.37.25 AMGood Wednesday morning from Washington, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had a pleasant meeting on Capitol Hill, and where everyone is talking about the Iran nuclear deal. Now that the marathon sessions with Iranian officials have proved fruitful, President Obama must pitch it all over again.

A day after reaching a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear abilities, Mr. Obama will begin what might be an even harder job: selling it to a skeptical Congress.

The president is set to hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to make the case for the agreement, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to meet with House Democrats on Capitol Hill. Other top administration officials will be fanning out to work over individual lawmakers and interest groups to try to rally them behind what the administration believes is a solid agreement holding Iran’s nuclear ambitions in check.

These events are just the first of what is likely to be an onslaught of briefings, congressional testimony, outreach efforts and media blitzes to offset a fierce pushback from Republicans, conservative groups and Israeli leaders among others.

The White House’s first priority is to shore up Democratic support to make certain that the House and Senate cannot override any veto should Congress send Mr. Obama legislation blocking the agreement.

But the White House would no doubt prefer congressional backing for the deal. It hopes to overcome some of the immediate Republican skepticism — echoed by some Democrats — that the deal is too generous to Iran and will restore that nation’s ability to fund terrorism while leaving Iran on the doorstep of a nuclear weapon.

Complicating the administration’s efforts is the deep opposition voiced by Republican presidential contenders who will be relentless in their criticism. But the White House promised an exhaustive effort to build support for an agreement that senior administration officials said was better than what they had anticipated going in to the talks.