Obama warns that re­ject­ing Iran deal could lead to war


U. S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama made an ag­gres­sive case for his sig­na­ture nu­clear deal with Iran Wed­nes­day, telling law­mak­ers that re­ject­ing diplo­macy would lead to war and de­stroy U. S. cred­i­bil­ity.

Cast­ing it as “the most con­se­quen­tial for­eign pol­icy de­bate” since the Iraq War, Obama said Congress must not wa­ver un­der pres­sure from crit­ics whom history had al­ready proven wrong.

“Con­gres­sional rejection of this deal leaves any U. S. ad­min­is­tra­tion that is ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to pre­vent­ing Iran from get­ting a nu­clear weapon with one op­tion: another war in the Mid­dle East,” he said.

“Many of the same peo­ple who ar­gued for the war in Iraq are now mak­ing the case against the Iran nu­clear deal,” he added, urg­ing law­mak­ers to in­stead choose a for­saken Amer­i­can tra­di­tion of strong diplo­macy.

Obama said the vote this time round was big­ger than any po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

“If Congress kills this deal, we will lose more than just con­straints on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram or the sanc­tions we have painstak­ingly built,” he warned.

“We will have lost some­thing more pre­cious. Amer­ica’s cred­i­bil­ity as a leader of diplo­macy. Amer­ica’s cred­i­bil­ity as the an-

chor of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem.”

‘Never fear to ne­go­ti­ate’

Posit­ing the now un­pop­u­lar Iraq war as a cau­tion­ary tale, Obama re­called pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy’s diplo­matic ef­forts to en­gage a nu­clear Soviet Union as a more wor­thy ex­am­ple to fol­low.

Obama’s re­marks were made at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity, in Washington, where in 1963 Kennedy used a com­mence­ment ad­dress to ar­gue ve­he­mently for peace amid a drum­beat of calls for mil­i­tary buildup against the Soviet Union.

Obama, bran­dish­ing his own record as ev­i­dence he is not weak or will­ing to ap­pease, said: “I have or­dered tens of thou­sands of young Amer­i­cans into com­bat. I’ve sat by their bed­side some­times when they come home. I’ve or­dered mil­i­tary ac­tion in seven coun­tries.”

He added: “There are times when force is nec­es­sary” and that time may yet come if Iran does not re­spect the deal — but not yet.

‘End­less straw men’

Sen­a­tors John McCain and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Lind­sey Graham, in a joint state­ment, ac­cused Obama of re­ly­ing on “end­less straw men.”

Obama ad­mit­ted that Iran might use cash com­ing its way un­der sanc­tions re­lief to fund “ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

But he said that was prefer­able to an Iran armed with a nuke.

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