White House launches digital push to defend Iran nuclear deal
WASHINGTON - The White House launched a new Twitter account Tuesday to defend the Iran nuclear deal, as US lawmakers prepared to debate the long-negotiated agreement.
In its inaugural tweet, @TheIranDeal linked to a resource page about the agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program.
"The historic #IranDeal succeeds in verifying that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon," the first tweet said.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the Twitter account would be used as an advocacy tool, and also a means to inform the public about the agreement.
"We are rolling out some new online tools that we'll use to advocate for the recently announced agreement to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," Earnest told reporters.
The account will "distribute facts, engage online audiences and be used as a forum by those involved in negotiating the agreement," he added.
The account features a photo of the deal's leading negotiators, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The unveiling of the account comes as Congress on Monday was given 60 days to debate the deal, which is likely to be a bitter battle.
Congress cannot amend the terms of the deal, but can vote to approve or disapprove the accord.
Many Republican lawmakers say the agreement rewards Iran's bad behavior.
The White House said the new resource page is a "repository of information about the deal including infographics, video and fact sheets to help members of Congress, the American public and even all of you as you cover this story."
Washington faces criticism elsewhere too, particularly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said it still gives the Islamic republic ample chance to cheat and find a covert way to build a nuclear bomb.
Within hours of setting up the Twitter account, at least one spoof Twitter handle appeared online, @TheIranBomb, with a similar profile photo, linking to a story about Saudi Arabia's reported plans to build its own nuclear program.