- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2015

President Obama defended his administration’s “historic” nuclear deal with Iran Saturday, telling Americans that the diplomatic agreement will be more effective than a bombing campaign in preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

“This framework is the result of tough, principled diplomacy,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “It’s a good deal—a deal that meets our core objectives, including strict limitations on Iran’s program and cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Republicans and some Democrats are demanding a say over the framework agreement that was reached Thursday in Switzerland. The deal, which is to be finalized by June 30, would significantly cut Tehran’s nuclear program in return for relief economic sanctions.

SEE ALSO: Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman rips Iran nuclear deal

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, is proposing legislation to prevent sanctions relief for 60 days to give Congress time to review the deal. He plans to bring the bill up for a vote in committee on April 14.

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke with Mr. Corker Friday about the bill.

The president, who is making phone calls to congressional leaders about the agreement, said he expects “a robust debate” in Congress. But he asked Americans to consider the alternatives.

“Let’s remember, we really only have three options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program: bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities—which will only set its program back a few years—while starting another war in the Middle East; abandoning negotiations and hoping for the best with sanctions—even though that’s always led to Iran making more progress in its nuclear program; or a robust and verifiable deal like this one that peacefully prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Obama said.

He said international inspectors will be able to determine whether Iran is living up to its end of the agreement not to pursue building a nuclear weapon, and that sanctions can be “snapped back into place” if Iran violates the deal.

“If Iran cheats, the world will know it,” the president said. “This deal is not based on trust, it’s based on unprecedented verification. As President and Commander in Chief, I firmly believe that the diplomatic option—a comprehensive, long-term deal like this—is by far the best option.”

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