Obama takes aim at critics of Iran deal
PRESIDENT Barack Obama has confronted critics of the nuclear deal reached with Iran, saying they were at odds with “99 per cent” of the world and had failed to offer any real alternative.
As the freshly inked deal was put to members of the UN Security Council, a combative and at times testy Mr Obama said opponents at home and abroad had offered only a path to war.
“If 99 per cent of the world community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, and you are arguing either that it does not or that even if it does, it’s temporary ... then you should have some alternative,” Mr Obama said.
The issue is either resolved “diplomatically, through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force. Through war. Those are the options,” he said.
As part of the international charm offensive to sell the deal, Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al- Jubeir in Washington.
Mr Obama’s Republican rivals, who hope to scupper the agreement in a Congressional vote, have accused him of appeasement. The agreement, signed on Tuesday after two years of talks, aims to roll back Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
While Vice- President Joe Biden spent the morning corralling and caressing sometime sceptical Congressional Democrats into voting for the deal, Mr Obama preferred the presidential bully pulpit. He directed some of his sharpest comments at long- time ally Israel, which has opposed the deal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described it as a “historic mistake” and hinted at a possible military response. “If somebody wants to make that debate, whether it’s the Republican leadership or Prime Minister Netanyahu or the Israeli ambassador or others, they are free to make it, but it’s not persuasive,” Mr Obama said.
IRRITATED: Barack Obama.