U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the nuclear deal with Iran at American University in Washington on Wednesday.
Mr. Obama said the rest of the world supports the Iran accord, with the notable exception of Israel. He reaffirmed his support for Israel’s security and said he doesn’t doubt the sincerity of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the fiercest opponents of the agreement.
Mr. Obama drew on history to bolster support, saying the accord builds on an American tradition of “strong, principled diplomacy” with adversaries, including the former Soviet Union. He spoke at the same university where John F. Kennedy called for Cold War diplomacy and nuclear disarmament.
Recalling more recent American history, Mr. Obama cast the upcoming vote in Congress as the nation’s most consequential foreign policy debate since the 2002 vote to authorise the Iraq war. He said many of those who oppose the Iran pact are the same as those who pushed for the war, which is now known to have been based on flawed intelligence.
Challenging those who said the U.S. should have layered tougher sanctions on Tehran and held out for a better deal, Mr. Obama said they “are either ignorant of Iranian society or they’re just not being straight with the American people.”
“If Congress were to kill this deal, they would not only pave Iran’s pathway to a bomb, they would accelerate it,” Mr. Obama said.