Herald Sun

Obama’s Iran stand

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VIG­OR­OUSLY chal­leng­ing his crit­ics, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama launched an ag­gres­sive and de­tailed de­fence of a land­mark Ira­nian nu­clear ac­cord yesterday, re­ject­ing the idea that it leaves Tehran on the brink of a bomb and ar­gu­ing the only al­ter­na­tive to the diplo­matic deal is war.

The Pres­i­dent spoke dur­ing a lengthy news con­fer­ence one day af­ter Iran, the US and five other world pow­ers fi­nalised a his­toric, years-long agree­ment to curb Tehran’s nu­clear pro­gram in ex­change for bil­lions of dol­lars in sanc­tions re­lief.

Op­po­si­tion to the deal has been fierce, both in Washington and Is­rael. Sunni Arab ri­vals of Shi’ite Iran also ex­pressed con­cerns.

“Ei­ther the is­sue of Iran ob­tain­ing a nu­clear weapon is re­solved diplo­mat­i­cally through a ne­go­ti­a­tion or it’s re­solved through force, through war,” Mr Obama said. “Those are the op­tions.” Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, per­haps the fiercest critic of Mr Obama’s over­tures to Iran, showed no sign he could be per­suaded to even tol­er­ate the agree­ment.

In re­marks to Is­rael’s par­lia­ment, Mr Ne­tanyahu said he was not bound by the terms of the deal and could still take mil­i­tary ac­tion against Iran.

Mr Ne­tanyahu sees Iran’s sus­pected pur­suit of a nu­clear weapon as a threat to Is­rael.

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