Senior Israeli Officials: Netanyahu's Fight Against Iran Deal Not a Failure

Even though Obama gained the support of 41 senators in favor of the nuclear agreement, sources claim PM was instrumental in changing American public opinion.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem August 16, 2015.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem August 16, 2015. Credit: Reuters
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Senior Israeli officials on Tuesday rejected opposition's criticism that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in his efforts to derail the Iran nuclear deal in the U.S. Congress.

According to the officials, even though U.S. President Barack Obama managed to secure 41 senators in favor of the agreement, the majority of Senators, most members of the House of Representatives and the majority of the American public opposes the deal.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said that the support by Democratic senators is proof of Netanyahu's failure.

The senior officials claimed that Netanyahu's campaign against the deal led many Americans to understand the need for increased U.S. aid to Israel.

"There is great support for the Israeli position, both from American public opinion and from Congress," officials said, adding that the American mindset believes that Israeli is an ally and Iran is a terror-enabling state.

"Even those Americans backing the deal say that the U.S. should further strengthen its relationship and alliance with Israel."

Despite Netanyahu's campaign, waged in coordination with the Republicans, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC and ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer, only four Democratic senators – and only two of the 10 Jewish senators – have come out against the agreement.

Obama gained the support of 41 senators on Tuesday, potentially enabling a filibuster and thus preventing a vote on a Republican-backed resolution rejecting the agreement.

It is not clear at this stage whether all the 41 Senators who announced support for the agreement also support a filibuster. Democratic Senator Chris Coons has already hinted that, despite his support for the agreement, he would like to see it voted on in the senate.

However, even if Coons doesn't support a filibuster, Obama will be able to rely on the vote of the Democratic Senator from Washington Maria Cantwell, if she announces her support for the agreement, as expected.

Knesset member Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said that in light of the fact that Obama had achieved a blocking majority, Netanyahu needed to act immediately to minimize the damage that has already been done to ties with the U.S.

Congress returns to work on Tuesday and the Iran deal is the first order of business.

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