Lobbying Fight Over Iran Nuclear Deal Centers on Democrats

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis

August 17, 2015

WASHINGTON — From his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama has been making phone calls to Democratic members of Congress, trying to rally support for the nuclear deal with Iran that faces a vote next month.

“If you support the deal, we’d like you to make that clear,” he tells the lawmakers, according to a White House official who would describe the private calls only on condition of anonymity. “And if you still have concerns, we want to be able to answer those questions.”

The personal appeals from the president are part of an orchestrated lobbying effort by the White House, supported by a coalition of antiwar and progressive organizations, aimed at persuading Democrats who are undecided about the nuclear agreement with Iran to vote against a Republican bid to block it.

Organizations fighting the deal also are asking their members to call, email and visit lawmakers to make a show of disapproval.

“This is the biggest mobilization in the community that we have ever seen,” said Nathan J. Diament, the executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, which has consulted with Aipac and other Jewish advocacy organizations on the opposition efforts. “People are energized, and they want to take action.”

The Orthodox Union is planning to bring hundreds of rabbis to Washington on Sept. 9, just as Congress reconvenes, Mr. Diament said, the same day Aipac plans to bring its own advocates to the capital to make a final push against the deal.

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