Obama: Arguments against Iran deal are based on ‘wrong facts’

August 12, 2015

President Obama says his agreement over Iran’s nuclear program — while facing fierce criticism in Congress — will look better in years to come.

In an interview with NPR, Obama’s tone was restrained, but his words were not. He expressed no patience for opponents of the deal, saying their arguments are “illogical or based on the wrong facts, and then you ask them, ‘All right, what’s your alternative?’ and there’s a deafening silence.”

The president also told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that his critics need to “pull out of the immediate politics” and consider “the right thing to do for the country.” Republicans have led the criticism of the Iran deal, but prominent Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Eliot Engel, have also voiced their opposition.

“When this agreement is implemented and ... we’ve got inspectors on the ground and it becomes clear that Iran in fact is abiding by this agreement, then attitudes will change, because people will recognize that, in fact, whatever parade of horribles was presented in opposition have not come true,” Obama said. “That, instead, what we’ve seen is an effective way to bind Iran to a commitment not to have nuclear weapons and, in that scenario, it’ll probably be forgotten that Republicans uniformly opposed it.”

Obama also spoke about what he thinks the region could look like if the deal is approved.

On whether the deal could reshape the region or security situation, Obama said, “What I’ve said is, is that this deal does not count on our fundamental relationship with Iran changing. It’s not based on trust. It’s not based on a warming of relations. It’s based on hard, cold logic and our ability to verify that Iran’s not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

“Having said that, it is possible that as a consequence of this engagement, that as a consequence of Iran being able to recognize that what’s happening in Syria for example is leading to extremism that threatens their own state and not just the United States; that some convergence of interests begins to lead to conversations between, for example, Saudi Arabia and Iran… And, you know, that’s something that we should welcome.”

On going forward with the deal even if Congress votes to disapprove it, the president noted, “Well, what I know is, is that, unfortunately, a large portion of the Republican Party, if not a near unanimous portion of Republican representatives, are going to be opposed to anything that I do, and have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics.

“That’s true in health care, that’s true in, you know, budget negotiations. That’s been true on a whole host of things.

“And I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody.”


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A near unanimous portion of Republican representatives are going to be opposed to anything that I do, and have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics.