President Obama on Monday praised the United Nations' unanimous decision to approve the Iran deal, and said U.S. lawmakers should pay attention to the broad international support for the agreement displayed in the vote.
"This is by far our strongest approach to ensuring Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon," Obama told reporters just hours after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the deal.
"There is broad international consensus around this issue," he continued. "Not just among the international community but also among experts in the nuclear proliferation and my ... assumption is that Congress will pay attention to that broad-based consensus."
The president made the remarks after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Monday morning.
Earlier in the morning, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the deal. Its members hailed it as a historic international accord that will curb Iran's nuclear program, lift burdensome economic sanctions on Iran and offer a chance for Tehran to change its ways in the coming months and years.
In taking the vote directly to the United Nations before seeking congressional approval, the Obama administration defied a bipartisan group of key lawmakers urging him to allow the House and Senate to act first.
Over the last few days, key lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, and Ben Cardin, its top Democrat, urged the president to reverse course and allow Congress to consider the details of the Iran deal for 60 days before seeking United Nations approval of it.
Corker argued that seeking a U.N. vote first was an effort to outmaneuver Congress and tamp down opposition by asserting international pressure on the deal. Last week, he called the effort an "affront" to the American people and Congress, and he continued that argument on Monday.
"The administration's decision to endorse this agreement at the UN prior to a vote in Congress on behalf of the American people is contrary to the spirit of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which was supported by overwhelming majorities of the House and Senate and signed by the president," said Corker.
"It is inappropriate to commit the United States to meet certain international obligations without even knowing if Congress and the American people approve or disapprove of the Iran agreement," he added. "There is bipartisan skepticism about whether this deal can prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and bipartisan concern over allowing the leading exporter of terrorism access to well over $100 billion in cash."
Both Corker and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said that despite the U.N.'s decision, Congress would take its time and make its own decision.
"We are disappointed that the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Iran this morning before Congress was able to fully review and act on this agreement," Royce said. "We are also greatly concerned that the resolution lifts restrictions on Iran's ballistic missiles in eight years and conventional arms in five years. Regardless of this morning's outcome, Congress will continue to play its role."