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Netanyahu playing chess, not checkers on Iran deal

Behind closed doors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concedes that he can't muster the required congressional majority to override a presidential veto on the Iranian nuclear deal and is therefore aiming for a "resounding moral majority."
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As the clock ticks down on the 60-day deadline allotted to the US Congress to review the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, presented to them on July 19, think tanks and media outlets in Israel and the United States are closely following the distribution of votes between proponents and opponents of the agreement. Those opposing it are currently an assured simple majority in Congress. The Republicans control both the Senate and the House of Representatives. They all oppose the deal, and some Democrats have joined them. The seemingly unresolved issue is whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will manage to win over a sufficient number of senators and representatives to muster a two-thirds majority in each house. Such a majority is constitutionally required to overcome a presidential veto, which President Barack Obama has pledged to use following the expected “no” vote by a simple majority.

That said, at the epicenter of the campaign against the agreement, Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem, there is a growing realization that the prospects of garnering such a majority to overcome a presidential veto are nil. In fact, in the words of a senior official who asked that his name be withheld, “It’s inconceivable.” Despite this assessment, the official told Al-Monitor, the prime minister does not intend to ease the pressure on Congress. He wants to enlist the support of as many opponents to the deal as possible to obtain what he calls a “resounding moral majority,” even if it's not a “veto overruling majority.” According to the source, Netanyahu argues that this same moral majority is supposed to represent the broad opposition to the agreement among the American public, which according to recent poll results encompasses nearly two-thirds of US citizens.

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