Baku. 16 July. REPORT.AZ/ President Barack Obama on Wednesday began what is expected to be a vigorous a public relations campaign to defend a recently brokered nuclear agreement with Iran.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said that he expects the debate about the nascent agreement to be “robust,” but warned against undercutting the agreement based on conjecture.
“I do expect the debate to be based on facts and not speculation or misinformation,” he said, calling on detractors to consider the alternative.
"Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world," said Obama.
Just hours after it was announced, the deal came under sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, none of whom, Obama said, “have presented to me or the American people a better alternative.”
Netanyahu said that the accord was “a huge mistake of historic proportions”.
“Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue its terror and aggression in the region and the world,” Netanyahu remarked, saying world powers were willing to reach an agreement at any price.
Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be subject to unprecedented inspections and restrictions in exchange for sanctions relief that could total billions of dollars.
A full text of the agreement has yet to be released, and Obama challenged lawmakers “who are objecting to this agreement, number one to read the agreement before they comment on it.”
Obama said that he did not harbor any delusions about how Iran could use the economic boon – namely further destabilizing actions like funding the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Palestinian faction Hamas, but said that Iranian President Hassan “Rouhani was elected specifically on the premise of improving the economic situation inside of Iran.”
Sanctions have devastated the Iranian economy, he said. “So the notion that they're just immediately going to turn over $100 billion to the IRGC or the Quds Force, I think runs contrary to all the intelligence that we've seen and the commitments that the Iranian government has made,” Obama said referencing Iran’s military and its elite special forces.