Obama lays out case for Iran nuclear deal in letter to Congress

US President Barack Obama delivering remarks on the nuclear deal reached with Iran at American University in Washington, DC.
US President Barack Obama delivering remarks on the nuclear deal reached with Iran at American University in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

EDGARTOWN,Massachusetts (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama laid out his case for lawmakers to back the nuclear deal with Iran in a letter released by the White House, the latest step by the administration to gain support for a deal critical to the president's legacy.

In an Aug 19 letter to Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, Obama spelled out arguments he has made repeatedly in recent weeks: that the deal with Teheran was a good one, that Washington was enhancing its security cooperation with Israel, and that the United States would maintain its ability to punish Iran for destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

"Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States - including the military option - will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond," Obama wrote.

The White House is seeking support from Democrats in Congress for the deal to give Obama backing to sustain a veto if Republicans and some Democrats reject it as expected.

"The President and senior members of his team have been in regular consultation with Members of Congress, including Representative Nadler, to ensure they have the information they need to judge the deal on its merits," a White House official said.

"The letter reaffirms the Administration's stalwart commitment to our regional allies, chiefly Israel."

Obama is currently on vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard. He and his staff have been pressing Democrats in Congress for their support for weeks.