President Barack Obama on Tuesday began selling the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it opens a chance to stop the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. He threatened to veto a move by Congress to block it.
“As Congress and the American people review this deal, it will be important to consider the alternative,” Obama said. “Without this deal, there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program.”
“This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction,” Obama added. We should seize it.”
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations would be lifted while Iran agrees to inspections to monitor its nuclear program, which the West says was aimed at creating nuclear weapons.
Congress will now have 60 days to review the deal and, if it rejects the deal, Obama would be able to veto the legislative branch’s rejection.
Obama said the deal stops the proliferation of nuclear weapons within the Middle East and that “the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb.”
An Iranian diplomat told Reuters that “All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people.”
Nevertheless, not everyone was satisfied with the deal.
“Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the deal’s announcement. “Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.”
However, Obama said that “if Iran violates the deal, all of these sanctions will snap back into place. So there’s a very clear incentive for Iran to follow through and there are very real consequences for a violation.”
—Reuters contributed to this report.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Obama made his remarks on Tuesday.