Israeli ambassador to Dems: Don’t fret about killing Iran deal – Jake Sherman/POLITICO
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s message to House Democrats is simple: don’t worry about voting against the Iran deal, because no matter what, the U.S. will not allow the Islamic Republic to obtain a nuclear weapon.
The message, described by multiple lawmakers who were on the receiving end, is meant to tamp down fear of what will happen if Congress votes to block the nuclear agreement. The U.S. and Israel have both said they would do anything to ensure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.
Dermer and other opponents are fighting an uphill battle against the nuclear pact: Capitol Hill insiders say opponents to the deal do not have the votes to override President Barack Obama’s veto.
But over the past 10 days, Dermer has been heavily lobbying House Democrats to vote against the nuclear deal between the major world powers and Iran.
Dermer, a U.S.-born ambassador, was on Capitol Hill as recently as Thursday, meeting with Democrats just step from the chamber floor. After votes wrapped up Thursday afternoon, Dermer was sitting down with Georgia Democratic Rep. David Scott in the Rayburn Room, which is adjacent to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office. Pelosi has said she’s a strong supporter of the nuclear agreement.
Congress will vote in September on disapproving of the pact.
The Israeli embassy did not comment on Dermer’s private comments on the record. But an Israeli official said, “we reject the idea that the alternative to this deal is war.”
The White House also declined to comment on the record. A senior administration official said if Congress disapproved of the agreement, that would “effectively end Iran’s obligations to begin implementing the nuclear restrictions in the deal. Iran would not start disconnecting centrifuges, or getting rid of its uranium stockpile, or filling Arak (a nuclear reactor) with concrete — and they could very well restart their nuclear activities that have been frozen since 2013.
“Doing so could pose a threat to our interests,” the official continued, “and to those of our regional allies, including Israel and the Gulf countries.”