Since President Obama's triumphal announcement of an interim agreement with Iran to control its production of enriched uranium, Capitol Hill has recoiled, and Iran's president has declared that the West "surrendered" to the country. This probably isn't the aftermath Obama was seeking.
The interim deal, which goes into effect next week, would delay some sanctions on the country in exchange for Iran halting various aspects of its push for nuclear energy (as it claims) or nuclear weapons (as everyone else fears). When it was announced in November, it faced instantaneous opposition, including from Israel and Republicans in Congress.
But Democrats, too, quickly moved to demonstrate their displeasure with the agreement, calling for increased, not reduced sanctions on Iran. On Wednesday, Obama will meet with the Senate's Democratic caucus in an attempt to try and quell this revolt. As The Washington Post's Greg Sargent notes, the tide even in that Democratically-controlled body is against Obama, with a nearly-filibuster-proof 59 senators in support and some 30 Senate Democrats not having taken a public position. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn't likely to bring the bill to a vote, and Obama has promised to veto any such move, but, should a vote occur, the Senate is pretty close to the two-thirds of support it needs to overturn it.
Naturally, Obama's Republican opponents aren't waiting for the president to twist Democrats' arms. House leadership is moving quickly to vote on the language currently under consideration in the Senate, according to The Wall Street Journal. Their goal is to increase pressure on Reid to hold a vote and, if passed, get the bill to Obama's desk faster.
Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation's interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation's will— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 14, 2014
Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani isn't making things any easier for the president. In a tweet on Tuesday he reiterated comments he'd made earlier in the day. As USA Today reports:
"Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation," Rouhani told a crowd in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan.
"The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and peace-loving Iranian nation," he said. "It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program."
Obama presumably sent Rouhani a direct message over Twitter to thank him.
The United States isn't the only party to the agreement with Iran. Last week, Russia, which also participated in the talks, began loosening its own trade sanctions against Iran, making Obama's job even harder. International diplomacy, it turns out, isn't easy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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