- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2015

President Obama said he’s comfortable moving forward with the Iranian nuclear deal even if majorities in the House and Senate reject the accord.

“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,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NPR released Monday. “And I have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics.”

Congress will vote next month on a resolution to disapprove the agreement, which will limit Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions. Most Republicans are opposed, and some Democrats such as Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York also have come out against the accord, saying it won’t stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.

Mr. Obama told NPR’s Steve Inskeep that the critics of the deal will be proven wrong over time, as Iran’s nuclear facilities are partially dismantled.

“When this agreement is implemented and we’ve seen centrifuges coming out of facilities like Fordow and Natanz, 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,” the president said.

Mr. Obama has vowed to veto any congressional move to unravel the agreement. The White House is hoping to hold enough Democrats in line to sustain a veto.

The president also essentially agreed with critics that the time it would take Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon would shrink to “a matter of months” when the agreement expires in 15 years. Asked what Iran’s “breakout time” will be 15 years from now, Mr. Obama said, “it shrinks back down to roughly where it is now … which is a matter of months.” He said it was no reason to reject the accord.

“Breakout time” refers to the length of time it would take for Iran to amass enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear weapon.

The deal includes limits on Tehran’s program intended to lengthen its breakout time to one year.

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