(AA) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday called the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to sell his case for an Iran nuclear deal, the White House said.
Obama’s call to Sen. Bob Corker comes as the administration attempts to at least soften the language in a bill expected to be presented by Corker that would give Congress the final say on any deal with Iran.
The White House strongly opposes any such suggestion and argues that the framework for a final deal, signed last week between Iran and world powers, will cause the Islamic republic to be the world’s most inspected country. Republicans view the deal as inadequate and believe that Iran will cheat and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon.
“They have obvious differences,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, referring to Obama and Corker. “But the president made the case to him once again that the president believes that this principled approach to diplomacy is the best way for us to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
The administration would like Congress to hold off on any vote on the deal until after the June 30 deadline for finalizing details of a comprehensive deal with Iran.
Leading Republicans have criticized the framework agreement including presidential candidate Jeb Bush who said, “I cannot stand behind such a flawed agreement.” Sen. Marco Rubio rejected the diplomatic efforts as “farcical.”
But Republicans are monitoring the situation closely to make sure the White House does not “soften” the senator. “Corker is under enormous pressure from the White House to delay or weaken his own bill,” former Bush administration official Dan Senor told The New York Times.
Corker’s bill is expected to be presented next week.