U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday turned to the public for support to continued nuclear talks with Iran toward a final deal, one day after a framework pact was reached.
In his weekly radio and online address, Obama described the tentative deal as a “good” one that meets U.S. “core objectives” and cuts off “every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”
The preliminary accord was sealed on Thursday following eight days of intense negotiations between Iran’s foreign minister and his counterparts from Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
The deal sets limits on Iran’s nuclear activities for it to take Tehran at least one year to produce enough fissile materials to produce a nuclear weapon, and allows regular inspections of the facilities inside the Islamic republic.
In return, the U.S. and the European Union will suspend nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, with the lifting of all past UN Security Council sanction resolutions.
Iran and the six powers are set to work even harder over the next three months to flesh out the framework deal with details to make for a final and comprehensive accord by the end of June.
“This is a long-term deal, with strict limits on Iran’s program for more than a decade and unprecedented transparency measures that will last for 20 years or more,” Obama said.
With the U.S. and Cuba put on track to a normalized relationship in December, Obama is setting his sights on a nuclear deal with Iran as another foreign policy legacy as he is to leave office in January 2017.
He is facing critics at home and abroad, who say a deal will not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb without dismantling its nuclear program altogether, a goal the Obama administration terms impossible.
Some U.S. lawmakers are working on bills that ask for a congressional review of any deal with Iran and threaten more sanctions against the Islamic republic should talks fail to produce a final deal at the end of June.
Obama and his top aides are reaching out to congressional leaders as well as those of Israel and Gulf countries, who are wary of a deal with Iran.
“Here in the United States, I expect a robust debate,” Obama said in his weekly address. “We’ll keep Congress and the American people fully briefed on the substance of the deal.”
He reiterated, however, a negotiated “comprehensive, long-term deal” is the best option for addressing the disputes over Iran’s nuclear program.
The other two options available now — bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities or abandoning negotiations and imposing tougher sanctions — will only start another war in the Middle East and allow Iran to make more progress in its nuclear program, Obama stressed. Enditem