WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) — President Barack Obama will begin his campaign Wednesday to build support on the Iran nuclear deal in an effort to stop Congress from blocking what the White House considers “the most consequential foreign policy debate since the decision to go to war in Iraq.”
In a speech at American University in Washington, D.C., Obama will explain and defend the agreement reached last month, which lifts some economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s access to develop nuclear weapons.
The White House compared Obama’s campaign to President John F. Kennedy‘s speech at American University in 1963 to gain support for a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviet Union shortly after the Cuban missile crisis. The message may be different, but the intent is the same — urging Americans and Congress to support an agreement despite mistrust.
“What’s appropriate about that comparison is President Kennedy, more than 50 years ago, entered into a diplomatic agreement with an adversary of the United States that did succeed in advancing the national security interests of the United States,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.
Obama’s got plenty of work ahead of him.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged more than 10,000 Jewish Americans to “oppose this dangerous deal.” Congress has said the vote for the Iran deal will be met with disapproval. Since the deal is not a treaty, it does not need congressional support, but it can be rejected with a two-thirds vote from both chambers. The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday introduced a resolution to do just that. A September vote is planned once the House returns from recess.