Liberman: Israel Must Not Try to Influence Congress on Iran Deal

With an Iranian nuclear deal apparently imminent, Israeli officials have begun looking hopefully at the next possible roadblock to the approval of a deal that many believe will give Iran a free hand to develop its nuclear program at will, while removing economic sanctions imposed against Tehran.

With the deal likely to be signed Monday or Tuesday, it then goes to Congress for approval – but Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman advised Monday against trying to influence that body to vote against the deal.

Even if the U.S. Senate, which is supposed to be the final arbiter of agreements with foreign countries, votes down the deal, the dam will have been burst, Liberman said. “The other countries will not wait for Congress to approve or disapprove the agreement,” said Liberman. “Companies will begin investing there right away, embargoes will be lifted, and they will be able to buy weapons.”

A report by Iran's Fars news agency, quoting negotiators, said that Western countries had agreed to remove all economic sanctions from Iran, but that certain “limitations” would remain for the time being, to be removed later on when Iran verifies compliance with the deal.

In addition to Western sanctions, the report said, a UN embargo on Iran in place since 2006 on arms trading with the Islamic Republic would be removed as well, with temporary limitations placed on the arms trade to expire at some point in the future.

On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday that the deal would be a “hard sell” in Congress. “It’s going to be a very hard sell, if it’s completed, in Congress,” McConnell told Fox News. “He can win on Iran and this deal with holding 34 Democrats because that’s the way the approval process is structured.” However, Israelis should not put too much hope in the possibility of the deal not being approved at the end of the day, a top security official told Arutz Sheva Sunday.

Eventually, the Israeli official said, it was likely that President Obama would get his way and the deal would be approved. “There is no question that Congress sees this deal in a different light than the White House does. The question is what will happen when the voting takes place. Senators can expect a great deal of pressure to be placed on them.”

Speaking Monday, Liberman said that Israel “needs to concentrate on what we do, not what happens elsewhere. I am hopeful that the security cabinet, the Defense Ministry, and the IDF will be able to develop a clear strategy for how to deal with future events.”


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