High-ranking official tells Ynet that campaign was successful in delegitimizing deal after Obama secures veto-threshold votes.

The Israeli government was not surprised on Wednesday by US President Barack Obama’s success in reaching a veto-threshold Congressional majority in support of the Iran nuclear deal, according to a high-ranking official –  but it doesn’t necessarily see it as a failure.

An associate of the prime minister said the strategy in the campaign against the agreement was to undermine its legitimacy, in which Israel succeeded with flying colors.

“When the agreement was unveiled, half of Americans supported it and half opposed it,” said the source. “Therefore, it’s wrong to present this as an Israeli failure. To the contrary, it’s a success. Obama is making an illegitimate international agreement thanks to a veto and not thanks to a majority.

Netanyahu delivers speech in Congress in March (Photo: AFP)
Netanyahu delivers speech in Congress in March (Photo: AFP)


“Congress will oppose the agreement and this means the American people will say ‘no’ to this agreement,” continued the official. “Israel had to shout against the agreement because if he had accepted it – then it’s certainly possible there would have been a majority in Congress in support of the agreement. If you are not willing to commit suicide in opposition to the agreement – what are the odds that a Democratic senator will commit suicide in opposition to Obama for Israel? Israel sent an important message to the world here.”

Obama secured a landmark foreign policy victoryearlier in the day, over ferocious opposition from Republicans and the government of Israel when Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski became the 34th vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.

Mikulski’s backing gives supporters the margin they need to uphold an expected Obama veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval that Republicans hope to pass later this month. And it spells failure for opponents of the international agreement who sought to foil it by turning Congress against it.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski speaks during a news conference to announce the start of the Baltimore Federal Homicide Task Force (Photo: AP)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski speaks during a news conference to announce the start of the Baltimore Federal Homicide Task Force (Photo: AP)


Leading that effort were Israel and its allies in the US, who failed to get traction after spending millions of dollars trying.

Jerusalem sources said following the news that “the prime minister made clear before his speech to Congress in March that his duty is to present Israel’s concerns about the agreement to the American people and its representatives. A solid majority of the American public and in Congress agrees with this stance.”

The agreement signed by Iran, the US and five other world powers limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions. Republicans and Israeli leaders contend that concessions made to Iran could empower that country, which has sworn to destroy Israel.

Soon after news of Mikulski’s announcement broke, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech defending the deal at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center. Kerry compared the situation to a house fire – no one would refrain from putting out a fire because of concern about what might happen in 10-15 years. One would, Kerry said, put out the fire and begin preparing for the future.

“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime,” Mikulski said in a statement. “I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb. For these reasons, I will vote in favor of this deal.”

US President Barack Obama (Photo: EPA)
US President Barack Obama (Photo: EPA)


Secretary of State John Kerry is sending a letter to all members of Congress outlining US security commitments to Israel and the Gulf Arab states in light of the nuclear deal. The letter comes as Kerry delivers a major policy speech Wednesday in Philadelphia that focuses on how the international agreement makes the US and its allies safer and how the deal is being mischaracterized by some opponents.

“I really believe the fastest way to a genuine arms race in the Middle East is to not have this agreement,” Kerry said in a nationally broadcast interview Wednesday. “Because if you don’t have this agreement, Iran has already made clear what its direction is.”

With opposition to the agreement failing to take hold on the Democratic side, supporters may even be able to muster the 41 votes needed to block the resolution from passing in the first place, sparing Obama from having to use his veto pen. That would require seven of the 11 remaining undeclared senators to decide in favor of the deal.

Only two Democratic senators have come out against the deal – Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez – while in recent weeks undeclared Democratic senators, even from red states, have broken in favor one after another.

Even if Congress were able to pass the disapproval resolution, it can’t stop the deal, which was agreed to among Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. In July, the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the nuclear deal, approving a resolution that would lift the international sanctions on Iran in 90 days.

Interviewed on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Wednesday, Kerry said that the absence of an agreement is what could lead to a nuclear arms race in the region. Putting the deal in place, he said, will keep other nations “from chasing a weapon on their own.”

Kerry also said that if the US rejects the deal, it would confirm the fears of Iran’s leaders “that you can’t deal with the West, that you can’t trust the West.”

As reported by Ynetnews