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Despite Side Deal Report, Support Lines Up for Iran Deal (Updated)

Nadler is the latest Democrat to back the Iran deal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Nadler is the latest Democrat to back the Iran deal. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:49 p.m. | Despite revelations this week of a previously undisclosed side deal, despite face-to-face entreaties from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and despite nonstop criticism from Republicans, the Iran nuclear deal continues to pick up steam in Congress.  

On Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler announced his support, saying the deal , “for all its flaws, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”  

President Barack Obama, who has been lobbying Congress to get behind the deal, wrote the New York Democrat a letter in which he vowed the United States will “take whatever means are necessary” to enforce the agreement, prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and protect Israel.  

“Throughout my time in office, I have consistently viewed Israel’s security as sancrosanct,” Obama told Nadler, the only Jewish member of the New York delegation so far to back the deal.  

Notably, Nadler had not signed a letter in May backing the earlier framework agreement with Iran signed by 146 Democratic representatives (145 voting members signed initially and a 146th signed on shortly thereafter). If Nadler and those Democrats hang firm, Obama’s veto would be sustained. Nadler’s decision also counters early worries on the left that the opposition of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., might come with coattails long enough to threaten the deal.  

The White House is pushing hard to win approval next month for the P5+1-brokered treaty in both the Senate and House — or at least win enough support to sustain a promised presidential veto of any attempt to scuttle the agreement.  

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who’s been out front on the deal for the White House, told Democrats in a “Dear Colleague” letter Friday that she’s “confident that we will sustain the President’s veto.”  

Obama and Pelosi continue to collect chits despite ongoing GOP opposition — from the presidential stump, where front-runner Donald Trump has made slamming the Iran agreement a regular component of his appearances to the top two Republicans in the House, who have each been focused on Iran during the August recess.  

House Speaker John A. Boehner and other Republicans redoubled efforts to block the White House after an Associated Press report earlier this week  of a “side deal” that would give Iran more control over U.N. inspections than previously disclosed.  

“The Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do.  Why haven’t these secret side agreements been provided to Congress and the American people for review?” Boehner said in a statement on the AP story.  

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed the speaker with his own statement : “This side agreement shows that true verification is a sham, and it begs the question of what else the Administration is keeping from Congress.”  

Netanyahu has also been trying to swing congressional votes against the deal, following up his March address to Congress with face-to-face meetings this summer with U.S. lawmakers in the Middle East.

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