UK, French, German leaders make final sell on Iran deal

UK, French, German leaders make final sell on Iran deal
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The leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany made a final pitch to members of Congress on Thursday afternoon to get them to support the nuclear deal with Iran.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, the three world leaders called the congressional vote “a crucial opportunity” to “show what diplomacy can achieve.”

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“We are confident that the agreement provides the foundation for resolving the conflict on Iran’s nuclear program permanently,” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote in the joint op-ed.

“This is why we now want to embark on the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, once all national procedures are complete,” they added, using the formal name for the nuclear deal.

Their plea comes mere hours before the Senate is set to vote on moving forward with legislation to disapprove of the nuclear accord, which is likely doomed to fail under opposition from 42 Senate Democrats.

At the same time, the House on Thursday is embarking on the first of three separate votes in opposition to the deal. One of those will accuse the Obama administration of violating the law by failing to hand over the text of side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The others will seek to prevent the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran and, lastly, to approve of the agreement — in order to see it fail.

The three leaders did not specifically tackle the issue of the side deals, which has become the target of intense criticism from congressional Republicans.

Instead, they sought to reassure lawmakers about the merits of the deal and the world’s ability to monitor Iran’s compliance with its terms.

“This is not an agreement based on trust or on any assumption about how Iran may look in 10 or 15 years,” the leaders wrote. “Iran will have strong incentives not to cheat: The near certainty of getting caught and the consequences that would follow would make this a losing option.”

The three also renewed their pledge to protect the security of Israel — the leaders of which have fiercely opposed the deal.

Finally, the European heads told Congress that the pact could lead Iran to begin opening itself to the rest of the world.  

The deal “does address the threat from Iran’s nuclear program and may open the way to recognition by Iran that collaboration with its neighbors is better than confrontation,” they wrote, noting the shared interest in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.