Try BlazeTV for Free
News

Hard sell: State Dept. pitches Iran deal to Tom Cotton, Chuck Schumer

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., attends the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 14, 2013. Credit: AP

The Obama administration this week started its uphill effort to sell the Iran nuclear agreement to Congress, beginning with two of its toughest critics: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"Undersecretary [Wendy] Sherman briefed Sens. Schumer and Cotton yesterday, and we remain in contact," said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke.

Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., attends the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 14, 2013. Credit: AP Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is one of the senators who has criticized the Iran nuclear agreement to have talked to the State Department about the deal. Image: AP

Rathke added that Sherman, the lead Iran negotiator at the State Department, talked with Schumer by phone, and met in person with Cotton at the department on Thursday.

The meetings seem to show a real effort on the part of the Obama administration to help convince Congress to support the deal, and avoid taking any steps that might scuttle it.

Cotton has become one of the most vocal opponents of the deal reached on April 2, and has suggested reimposing tough sanctions against Iran until that country agrees to abandon all of its nuclear ambitions. Cotton is unlikely to be swayed, and has vowed to block the deal.

Schumer, who is expected to lead Senate Democrats once Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) steps down in 2017, isn't nearly as hostile toward the agreement. But he still supports legislation that would require Congress to approve any final agreement that's reached later this summer.

The administration has said that bill is a major threat to the agreement, since congressional disapproval would likely signal that Congress is not interested in removing unilateral sanctions against Iran. That, in turn, would likely prompt Iran to balk at living up to its nuclear commitments, since it's keenly interested in making sure economic sanctions are lifted.

Rathke declined to say how Sherman's meetings with Cotton and Schumer went, and said he didn't even have enough information to say if they were cordial or productive.

On Thursday, Cotton indicated he still has significant doubts about the deal, in part because the U.S. and Iran continue to offer wildly different interpretations of what the tentative agreement says:

One last thing…
Watch TheBlaze live and on demand on any device, anywhere, anytime.
try premium
Exclusive video
All Videos
Watch BlazeTV on your favorite device, anytime, anywhere.
Try BlazeTV for Free
Sponsored content
Daily News Highlights

Get the news that matters most delivered directly to your inbox.