The ink has barely dried on the Iran deal, and its opponents in Congress now have two months to debate whether it's too lenient or tough enough as Iran's allies and benefactors take a closer look at how it will likely affect their fortunes.


President Obama and John Kerry: They struck a deal to end a diplomatic standoff that has progressively isolated an accused rogue state from the rest of the world for decades. If Congress disapproves of the accord, Obama will veto the bill. The deal will be part of Obama's foreign-policy legacy.

Iran: Once sanctions are lifted, it will regain access to assets around the world that were frozen, another potential windfall in resurrecting the country's economic standing.

Iran's allies: A richer Iran means its support for groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime in Syria won't be affected by the nuclear deal. It's possible that Iran's willingness to talk with the U.S. will thaw those allies' views, too.

Russia: It is eager to sell its weapons to Iran, and this deal will eventually give them the chance as the easing of sanctions frees up more cash. That likely means a quickening of security ties between Russia and Iran — bad news for the U.S.


Israel: It warned against a deal and advocated a more hawkish strategy to contend with Iran. The deal undercut Israel's clout in Washington.

Saudi Arabia and the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Israel were in lockstep in their wariness about the deal. For Saudi Arabia, it was is partly about competition: Iran's petroleum resources pose a serious threat to the influential OPEC giant. When there is an obvious Sunni-Shia split, the Saudi-Iranian divide is a factor in nearly every conflict plaguing every unstable Middle Eastern country. If Iran's allies see their bankroll expand as Iran gets richer, Saudi Arabia will have to decide whether to step up its own patronage or cede some regional influence.

Congressional Republicans: They may win the fight in Congress to block the deal. But unless they can cobble together a two-thirds, veto-proof majority in both houses, it won't do any good. Keeping the deal together in the long term does depend in large part on Iran's compliance — but it also depends on the United States and other negotiators not taking steps to re-implement or increase sanctions so long as Iran is judged to be holding up its end of the bargain. Obama will surely veto any attempts to come down hard on Iran with additional sanctions so long as he is in the White House. But afterwards, who knows? The deal has terms that apply for the next 10, 15, and in one instance, even 25 years. Obama's term lasts another 18 months.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.: He took a risk by rallying support against a deal, but if he can't recruit Democratic heavyweights, like Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, his crusade won't hold. Menendez said he's reviewing the deal but warned that it "legitimizes Iran as a threshold nuclear state." Schumer said he's considerng the deal; Clinton called it "an important step in putting the lid on Iran's nuclear program."

Washington Post