White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Monday blamed partisanship for the opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, even though at least nine Senate Democrats support a proposal that would at least delay implementing an agreement.
“There are a lot of members of Congress who quite frankly are not willing to evaluate this deal on the merits,” Earnest said. “They evaluate this deal on whether President Obama supports it and if he does, they are going to oppose it.”
The United States, with Britain, France, Russian, China and Germany, reached an agreement on the parameters of a deal with Iran that would require Iran to open itself up for international inspections of its nuclear energy use in exchange for sanctions relief. The deal would allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium.
“That’s the kind of partisanship that has infected so much of what this president has tried to do over the course of the last six years and its unfortunate that its emerging in the context of such a critical national security priority for the United States,” Earnest continued. “There will be some members of Congress, who based on their rigid partisan views will oppose this deal no matter how good it is.”
The Corker-Menendez Senate bill has nine Democratic co-sponsors, but needs 13 Democratic votes to override a presidential veto. The bill would require Obama to include Congress in approving the deal.
The Obama administration is offering up Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to any member of Congress who wants a classified briefing, Earnest said.
Earnest was later pressed on how he would characterize Democratic opposition to the Iran deal. Earnest explained that he thought Democrats would listen to what administration officials had to say.
“There is some Democratic opposition. I do think there is an opportunity for us to make the case to them that the negotiations we have undertaken, if we can complete this agreement by the end of June, would be by far the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, that is after all a goal we all share,” Earnest said. “Certainly Democrats understand that the president means it when hey says he’s going to use every element in his authority to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”