President Barack Obama has expressed disdain for critics of the Iran nuclear deal, saying the accord will be seen for its merits in the years to come.
"When this agreement is implemented 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," Obama told NPR's "Morning Edition"
host Steve Inskeep on Tuesday.
"That, instead, what we've seen is an effective way to bind Iran to a commitment not to have nuclear weapons and, in that scenario, it'll probably be forgotten that Republicans uniformly opposed it."
Obama was speaking as Congress is preparing to review the deal amid widespread opposition from Republicans and tensions within his own party after New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer
announced his own opposition to it.
The president said that the deal was a success because it will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
"It cuts off all the pathways for Iran getting a nuclear weapon. In exchange, Iran gets relief from the sanctions that we organized, systematically, with the international community over the last several years that's crippled their economy and forced them back to the table," he said.
Critics have claimed that the deal would give free reign for Iran to act in the region, but the president disputed that notion, pointing to sanctions that will remain in place unrelated to their nuclear activities, such as sponsorship of terrorism or violations of human rights.
"There's no logic to the notion that somehow we will let up on trying to prevent activities that Iran may engage in that would be contrary to our national security interests," he said.
Obama emphasized that the deal is not based on trust or an assumption that America's fundamental relationship with Iran is changing.
"It's based on hard, cold logic and our ability to verify that Iran's not pursing a nuclear weapon," he said.
He said, however, that the deal could lead to a convergence of interests that would see Iran begin to shift its relationship with other states in the region.
"It is possible that as a consequence of this engagement, that as a consequence of Iran being able to recognize that what's happening in Syria, for example, is leading to extremism that threatens their own state and not just the United States," he said.
"That Iran starts making different decisions that are less offensive to its neighbors; that it tones down the rhetoric in terms of its virulent opposition to Israel. And, you know, that's something that we should welcome."
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