By Gernot Heller & Doina Chiacu
TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration sent a nuclear agreement with Tehran to Congress on Sunday & Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. lawmakers to reject a deal he said would only feed an “Iranian terror machine”.
In a first concrete sign of European determination to quickly rebuild economic & political ties with Iran after a 12-year standoff, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Tehran with an economic delegation. Other European powers were expected to follow.
p>Obama has promised to exercise his veto if Congress rejects the deal, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program while allowing an easing of economic sanctions.
Overriding it would require a two-thirds majority of both the House of Representatives & Senate, so the administration is working to win over enough of Obama’s fellow Democrats to offset strong Republican opposition.
“I think the right thing to do is merely not to go ahead
FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden …
with this deal,” Netanyahu said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” as he continued a string of U.S. media interviews denouncing the deal reached on Tuesday between Iran & six major powers.
“There are many things to be done to stop Iran’s aggression & this deal is not one of them,” he said.
IRANIAN RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL
Tehran denies Western & Israeli accusations it has been using a research program as cover for ambitions to develop atomic weapons. President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday he expected the deal would lead to closer relations with Tehran’s neighbors in the Gulf region, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran remained at odds with the West.
It was on Khamenei’s words that Netanyahu seized, speaking to his cabinet on Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacts as he delivers a statement on the Iran talks deal at the V …
“The Iranians are not even trying to hide the fact they will take advantage of the hundreds of billions they will receive via the agreement to arm their terror machine,” he said. “And they say explicitly they will continue their struggle against the United States & its allies, Israel of course above all.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was due in Jerusalem on Sunday night in an attempt to assuage Israel’s anger over a deal it says can only delay Iran becoming a nuclear state. He is moreover touring Jordan & Saudi Arabia, which both eye the prospect of increasing Iranian influence in the region with some suspicion.
Germany’s Gabriel, due to meet President Hassan Rouhani & several ministers, told German newspaper Bild he would use his three-day trip to suggest Germany could serve as a mediator between Iran & arch-enemy Israel. He said he would insist the Iranian government recognize Israel’s right to exist.
“Really stable, satisfactory relationships with Germany will only be able to develop if this is accepted in Iranian politics. I will keep making that clear during my trip to Iran,” Gabriel said in comments due to be published on Monday.
Opponents of the deal argue it does not provide enough supervision of Iran’s nuclear program.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the U.S. delegation to the talks with Iran, was asked on â€œFox News Sunday with Chris Wallaceâ€ why the deal did not provide for inspections anywhere anytime.
â€œThe fact is, that in arms control, there is no country anywhere on this planet that has â€˜anywhere, anytimeâ€™,” he said. “There is no such standard. There is no such standard within arms control inspections.”
(Additional reporting Michael Flaherty in Washington; Writing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Jon Boyle)
President Barack ObamaIranBenjamin NetanyahuISRAEL