WASHINGTON - Top Republicans vowed on Wednesday to do their utmost to scrap President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran as the biggest pro-Israel lobby geared up for an all-out campaign next week to pressure wary lawmakers into rejecting the agreement.
A bigger push against last week's historic accord in Vienna was being met with a counter-offensive by senior Obama administration officials, who briefed groups of lawmakers in closed-door sessions on Wednesday and will defend the deal in a congressional hearing on Thursday.
As Congress opened a 60-day review of the deal, US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top congressional Republican, told reporters: "Because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people, we're going to do everything possible to stop it."
The most influential pro-Israel group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), planned to deploy hundreds of lobbyists on Capitol Hill next Wednesday and Thursday to try to convince lawmakers, especially wavering or undecided Democrats, to vote against the deal, according to an official in the pro-Israel camp.
AIPAC will also run a national campaign of television commercials already under way and sponsored by allied groups such as Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, US pro-Israel sources said. The groups are expected to spend upwards of $20 million, one of the sources said.
Congress has until September 17 to decide whether to approve or reject the agreement between Iran and world powers to rein in Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.