Obama Urges Congress to Take a Cue From the U.N. on Iran

After the United Nations Security Council gave its unanimous approval to the Iran nuclear deal Monday, President Barack Obama told Congress to “pay attention” to the international consensus. This comes as bipartisan opposition increases toward the deal.

“This is by far our strongest approach to ensuring that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said from the Oval office Monday alongside Nigerian President Mahammadu Buhari, who was making his first visit to the United States.

President Barack Obama meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 20, 2015. Obama welcomes Nigeria's freshly elected president after the country's first ever democratic transition. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 20, 2015. Obama welcomes Nigeria’s freshly elected president after the country’s first ever democratic transition. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

“There is broad international consensus around this issue, not just among the international community but also among experts in the nuclear proliferation and my working assumption is that Congress will pay attention to that broad-based consensus around this issue, not just among the international community but also among experts in the nuclear proliferation and my working assumption is that Congress will pay attention to that broad-based consensus around this issue,” Obama said.

The nuclear deal in Vienna was made between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as Germany, collectively known as the P5+1. The permanent members have veto power. The U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 for the deal that would allow international sanctions on Iran to be lifted if the country swears off using nuclear power for a weapon. The deal allows Iran to use nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes.

Republicans in Congress, and some Democrats, are staunchly opposed to implementing the deal. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Nev.), issued a joint statement.

“We are disappointed that the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Iran this morning before Congress was able to fully review and act on this agreement,” the joint statement said. “We are also greatly concerned that the resolution lifts restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles in eight years and conventional arms in five years. Regardless of this morning’s outcome, Congress will continue to play its role.”