Supporters and opponents of the Iran deal are planning on facing off on Capitol Hill next week.
Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are joining a rally planned at the Capitol on Wednesday, September 9, to pressure lawmakers to oppose the deal reached last month, which paves the way for restrictions and oversight on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief for the country. The rally, which will be held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, is sponsored by Tea Party Patriots, the Center for Security Policy, and the Zionist Organization of America.
In response, a social media campaign called “Support Iran Deal” is encouraging individuals to come to the Capitol on the same day in support of the agreement. The grassroots movement, which was started by a group of volunteers, organized a “Global Day of Peace for Iran” on August 15, which brought out thousands of individuals across the world in support of the deal.
On Friday, August 28, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed the September 9 protest as a “big pro-war rally.” As quoted by The Hill, Earnest told reporters “The same people making the same arguments against the Iran deal were the people who advocated for us getting into the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003.” He added, “The fault lines of this debate should be familiar to anybody who has been covering American politics for the past 12 or 13 years.”
Congress will be back in session on Tuesday, September 8, and it has until September 17 to vote on the deal. While it is still unclear how many in Congress will vote on the deal, there is reason to be hopeful. In the last week, a number of members of Congress have come out in support of the deal. Senator Jeff Merkley, the junior senator from Oregon, most recently endorsed the deal on Sunday, bringing the total number of senators in support of the deal to thirty-one.
Only three more senators need to support the deal in order to defeat hope of a veto-proof congressional resolution of disapproval. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who came out in support of the deal last week, told the Washington Post that he is “cautiously optimistic” he will be able to secure the remaining votes.