Obama is finally in the home stretch of closing his nuclear deal with Iran

GlobalPost
US President Barack Obama speaks about the Iran nuclear agreement on Aug. 5, 2015 at American University in Washington, DC.

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NEED TO KNOW:

Obama is finally in the home stretch of closing his nuclear deal with Iran. 

With two more Democratic senators pledging their support on Tuesday, the president moved within one vote of the 34 he needs to get the landmark deal through Congress and to avert a resolution of disapproval. 

Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware, who had both earlier harshly criticized the deal, announced their change of heart this week, while noting their reservations. "This is not the agreement I hoped for," Sen. Coons said. 

But in the end, Coons continued, given a choice between the "uncertainty and risks" of abandoning the agreement — which the White House says would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for 15 years or more — and accepting the positives of the deal while attempting to "minimize the short- and long-term consequences of its flaws, I choose the latter." 

Obama has staked a portion of his legacy on the success of the Iran deal, which has aroused fierce opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, and which lifts sanctions on Iran in return for measures intended to blocked Iran's nuclear program. 

Even Republican foes of the deal, like Senator Mitch McConnell, admit that there's a "great likelihood" the agreement will stand. 

So US Congress is warming to the nuclear agreement — but what about Iran's politicians?

The Vienna agreement signaled a victory for reformist forces aligned with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. But they face strong resistance from entrenched hardliners. As GlobalPost's Reese Erlich reports from Tehran, the ultimate winner in this domestic political battle will help determine if Iran actually implements the nuclear accord, and ultimately pursues more friendly relations with the West.

WANT TO KNOW: 

Rejoice, lion-lovers — dear Cecil may be gone, but 33 specimens of the noble African cat are heading back to the homeland this week, thanks to the efforts of Animal Defenders International, which rescued the felines from South American circuses and chartered a 747 to send them back to the savannah. 

The lions, many of whom suffered from overwork and inadequate food in their circus life, will enjoy a life of relative leisure at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. 

Please, kitties. Stay. Don't wander out of the sanctuary. Not even one step. You never know who you'll meet

STRANGE BUT TRUE:

Hideki Tojo, a Japanese war criminal and World War II general, is nothing much to laugh about. He invaded China, signed off on bombing Pearl Harbor, and was so strict he was called "Razor Tojo" by army comrades. After being sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal, Tojo was hanged in 1948. 

Now, thanks to a Chinese ice-cream maker with an odd sense of humor, you can eat Tojo's head

A Shanghai ice cream chain is, for a limited time only, offering frozen Hideki Tojo ice cream bars to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which is being marked in China with a massive, monkey-patrolled parade.  

The 3D-printed Tojo dessert, while in dubious taste, nevertheless comes in vanilla, blueberry, mocha, mango, and tiramasu flavors, and can be yours for a limited time at $4.70 a pop.

In case the point was lost on anyone, the ice cream store kicked off their campaign with an ad that proclaimed: "10,000 people together eat the Japanese war criminal"!