Obama sends Iran deal to wary Congress, Israel urges rejection

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Netanyahu to U.S. Congress: Hold Out for Better Iran Deal

President Barack Obama's administration sent a nuclear agreement with Tehran to Congress on Sunday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. lawmakers to reject a deal he said would only feed an "Iranian terror machine".

In a first concrete sign of European determination to quickly rebuild economic and political ties with Iran after a 12-year standoff, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Tehran with an economic delegation. Other European powers were expected to follow.

Obama has promised to exercise his veto if Congress rejects the deal, which curbs Iran's nuclear program while allowing an easing of economic sanctions.

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US Iran Nuclear Talks -- Congress -- John Kerry -- updated 5/22/2015
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Obama sends Iran deal to wary Congress, Israel urges rejection
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (2nd L) (R-TN) gavels the start of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran April 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. A bipartisan compromise reached by Corker and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) would create a review period that is shorter than originally proposed for a final nuclear deal with Iran and creates compromise language on the removal of sanctions contingent on Iran ceasing support for terrorism. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (L) (R-TN) shakes hands with ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin (R) (D-MD) during a committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran April 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. A bipartisan compromise reached by Corker and Cardin would create a review period that is shorter than originally proposed for a final nuclear deal with Iran and creates compromise language on the removal of sanctions contingent on Iran ceasing support for terrorism. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (Rear), a Republican presidential candidate, passes Sen. Marco Rubio (bottom), a Republican presidential candidate, as senators make their opening remarks during a markup meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran April 14, 2015 in Washington, DC. A bipartisan compromise reached by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) would create a review period that is shorter than originally proposed for a final nuclear deal with Iran and creates compromise language on the removal of sanctions contingent on Iran ceasing support for terrorism. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: Acting U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf conducts a daily press briefing at the State Department April 8, 2015 in Washington, DC. Harf spoke on various topics including the Iran nuclear deal. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama makes a statement at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2, 2015 after a deal was reached on Iran's nuclear program. Iran and world powers agreed on the framework of a potentially historic deal aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear drive after marathon talks in Switzerland. (Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 02: A teleprompter shows the text for U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks on negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program on April 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. In exchange for Iran's agreement to curb their country's nuclear proliferation, the United States would lift some of the crippling sanctions imposed. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 2: U.S. President Barack Obama boards Air Force One after making a statement on Iran nuclear negotiations in the White House April 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. The so-called P5+1 nations reached an agreement for an Iranian nuclear program and a process to lift sanctions against Iran after talks in Switzerland. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) walks with bodyguard in the garden of the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel during a break in Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 1, 2015. Rollercoaster talks aimed at stopping Iran getting a nuclear bomb went into extra time amid cautious signs that after seven days of tough negotiations a framework deal may be near.  (Photo credit: ABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) gestures while waiting for the opening of a plenary session with P5+1 ministers, European Union and Iranian minister on Iran nuclear talks at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31, 2015. Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off early a final scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a potentially historic nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 31: P5+1 Ministers, European Union and Iranian officials wait for the opening of a plenary session on Iran nuclear talks at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel on March 31, 2015. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 31: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier waits for the opening of a plenary session on Iran nuclear talks P5+1 Ministers, European Union and Iranian officials at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel on March 31, 2015. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - FEBRUARY 5: Senator Tom Cotton speaks during a news conference with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about arming Ukraine in the fight against Russia in Washington, D.C. on February 5, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (3rd L) poses for photographers with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (2nd L), Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (4th L), Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) (L) and Minority Whip Sen. Richard Durbin (DIL) (R) prior to a meeting at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. At the risk of further straining the relationship between Israel and the Obama Administration, Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress warning congressional members against what he considers an ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 3: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before joint session of Congress, on March, 03, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (Far R) goes for a stroll with assistant and security on the shore of Lake Geneva upon his arrival on February 22, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry arrived in Geneva for renewed talks with his Iranian counterpart on Tehran's nuclear programme, after warning 'significant gaps' remain as a key deadline approaches. Kerry is set to sit down for two days of talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose country denies its nuclear programme has military objectives. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) arrives at his hotel on February 22, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry arrived in Geneva for renewed talks with his Iranian counterpart on Tehran's nuclear programme, after warning 'significant gaps' remain as a key deadline approaches. Kerry is set to sit down for two days of talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose country denies its nuclear programme has military objectives. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) walks back to his hotel after on February 23, 2015 in Geneva. Washington and Tehran's top diplomats sat down again on February 23 for talks on Iran's nuclear program as they struggled to narrow gaps ahead of a key deadline. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) goes for a stroll with assistants and security along the shores of Lake Geneva upon his arrival on February 22, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry arrived in Geneva for renewed talks with his Iranian counterpart on Tehran's nuclear programme, after warning 'significant gaps' remain as a key deadline approaches. Kerry is set to sit down for two days of talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whose country denies its nuclear programme has military objectives. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a media briefing at the U.S. Embassy on February 21, 2015 in London, England. Earlier Kerry met with British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond and it's expected that the issue of the continuing conflict in the Ukraine will dominate talks between the two nations. (Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
Is the U.S. being too soft on Iran when negotiating on sanctions and a potential nuclear deal? Strategic Policy Consulting's Alireza Jafarzadeh and WSJ's Simon Constable discuss.
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Overriding it would require a two-thirds majority of both the House of Representatives and Senate, so the administration is working to win over enough of Obama's fellow Democrats to offset strong Republican opposition.

In an unusual move, Obama took three Democratic congressman golfing with him: Joe Courtney of Connecticut, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and John Yarmuth of Kentucky. The president more often taps aides and friends for weekend golfing.

"I think the right thing to do is merely not to go ahead with this deal," Netanyahu said on CBS's "Face the Nation" as he continued a string of U.S. media interviews denouncing the deal reached on Tuesday between Iran and six major powers.

"There are many things to be done to stop Iran's aggression and this deal is not one of them," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, arriving in Israel on the first visit by a U.S. cabinet official since the agreement, told reporters on his aircraft: "I'm not going to change anybody's mind in Israel. That's not the purpose of my trip.

"Friends can disagree but we have decades of rock-solid cooperation with Israel."

Carter is also touring Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which both eye the prospect of increasing Iranian influence in the region with some suspicion.

IRANIAN RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL

Tehran denies Western and Israeli accusations it has been using a research program as cover for ambitions to develop atomic weapons. President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday he expected the deal would lead to closer relations with Tehran's neighbors in the Gulf region, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran remained at odds with the West.

It was on Khamenei's words that Netanyahu seized, speaking to his cabinet on Sunday.

"The Iranians are not even trying to hide the fact they will take advantage of the hundreds of billions they will receive via the agreement to arm their terror machine," he said. "And they say explicitly they will continue their struggle against the United States and its allies,Israel of course above all."

The U.S. And Iran Are Still Far From Friends

Germany's Gabriel, due to meet President Hassan Rouhani and several ministers, told German newspaper Bild he would use his three-day trip to suggest Germany could serve as a mediator between Iran and arch-enemy Israel. He said he would insist the Iranian government recognize Israel's right to exist.

"Really stable, good relationships with Germany will only be able to develop if this is accepted in Iranian politics. I will keep making that clear during my trip to Iran," Gabriel said in comments due to be published on Monday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said world powers could now press Tehran on other issues such as its involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad. "We shouldn't be naïve or starry eyed in any way about the regime that we're dealing with," he said in an interview with NBC News.

Opponents of the deal argue it does not provide enough supervision of Iran's nuclear program.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the U.S. delegation to the talks with Iran, was asked on "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" why the deal did not provide for inspections anywhere anytime.

"The fact is, that in arms control, there is no country anywhere on this planet that has 'anywhere, anytime'," he said. "There is no such standard. There is no such standard within arms control inspections."

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