|Obama defends interim Iran nuclear deal||
TEHRAN - President Barack Obama on Saturday defended an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear program, Reuters reported.
The agreement that was reached in Geneva on November 24 between Iran and the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and China - known as the P5+1 group – offers Tehran some relief from economic sanctions in return for more oversight of its nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the deal a "historic mistake."
Obama, speaking at a forum hosted by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media proprietor, said the interim deal with Iran would provide space for a longer-ranging agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is entirely peaceful.
The president said he viewed the likelihood of a satisfactory "end state" as a 50/50 proposition, and repeated that all options remained on the table if Iran did not follow through with its obligations.
"If we cannot get the kind of comprehensive end state that satisfies us and the world community ... then the pressure that we've been applying on them and the options that I have made clear I can avail myself of, including a military option, is one that we would consider and prepare for," he said.
Obama said it was unrealistic to believe that Iran would halt its nuclear program if the sanctions regime was strengthened and talks were not given a chance to succeed.
Obama suggested any enrichment capacity left in Iran would be limited.
"It is my strong belief that we can envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if they have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity," he said.
The United States says it will confer closely with Israel about crafting a permanent Iran agreement after the six-month confidence-building period laid out by the Geneva deal.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader