President Obama’s Statement On Iran Nuclear Deal – Business Insider
President Barack Obama just gave a speech reacting to the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran that was reached by negotiators on Thursday.
“Today, after many months of tough, principled diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal. And it is a good deal,” Obama said.
Obama delivered his statement from the Rose Garden where he described it as an “historic” agreement. He said he is “convinced” that, if the framework leads to a final agreement, “it will make our country, our allies, and our world safer.”
“This has been a long time coming. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been advancing its nuclear program for decades,” Obama said.
Here are key highlights from the president’s remarks:
- He said Iran has “eliminated its stockpile of dangerous nuclear material.”
- Obama said the deal was the “best option” to address concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon because the country had agreed to a “robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime” that ensured it would not be able to produce a weapon covertly.
- According to the president, the agreement outlined in the framework “shuts down Iran’s path to a bomb using enriched uranium” because Iran will not be permitted to enrich uranium for ten years.
- Obama noted the deal would include sanctions relief for Iran. However, he specified some US sanctions would not be lifted and said “sanctions can be snapped back into place” if Iran violates any agreement.
- The negotiations have been criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama acknowledged this and stressed the US staunchly supports Israeli security and will work to address its concerns.
- Some members of Congress have also criticized the deal and there have been proposals for lawmakers to review any agreement. Obama described it as an “international agreement” that satisfied many key allies and warned the US would be “blamed” if it is killed. He also said he will give Congress “oversight” over the agreement.
Obama, who described the framework simply as a “good deal,” alluded to critics who have been skeptical of the negotiations when he said they “succeeded exactly as intended.”
“Iran has met all of its obligations,” Obama said.
Obama said the framework sets the stage for an agreement that “would cut off every pathway Iran could take” to a nuclear weapon. He also stressed any final agreement would include strict measures to verify Iran is complying.
“Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime,” he said. “This deal was not based on trust. It’s based on unprecedented verification.”
The president’s statement came soon after negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland announced that they had reached a framework for a deal that would curb Tehran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for the US and other powers rolling back sanctions against Iran. The negotiations included Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers, the US, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
Negotiators originally set a deadline of March 31 for a political framework agreement, but they extended the talks and have spent much of the week engaged in late night negotiations. Any deal must be signed by June 30, which was the ultimate deadline established by the deal that allowed for the talks.
Obama stressed that negotiators merely reached the framework for a final agreement on Thursday. He noted “key details” of the agreement “will be finalized over the next couple months.” The president went on to detail some of the specifics of the framework, which were also outlined in a fact sheet that was distributed by the White House.
“Iran will not build a new heavy-water reactor. And Iran will not reprocess fuel from its existing reactors, ever. Second, this deal shuts down Iran’s path to a bomb using enriched uranium,” Obama said. “Iran will not enrich Uranium with its advanced centrifuges for at least 10 years. … Iran has agreed that it will not stockpile the materials needed to build a weapon.”
Obama described the deal outlined in this framework as “the best possible defense against Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon covertly.”
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” Obama said. “With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So, this will be a longterm deal that addresses each path to a potential Iran nuclear bomb.”
Obama also addressed the sanctions relief Iran will get in exchange for an agreement.
“Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon. In return for Iran’s actions. the international community has agreed to provide Iran relief from certain sanctions,” he explained. “This relief will be phased as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violated the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place. Meanwhile, other American sanctions against Iran … will continue to be fully enforced.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a staunch critic of a potential nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu has said an agreement will help Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon. Many Republicans have also opposed the deal and there have been legislative proposals to require any final agreement to be authorized by US lawmakers.
According to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Israeli intelligence officials released a statement shortly after the framework was announced wherein they criticized the negotiations as “disconnected from reality.” Blitzer described this as the first reaction to the framework from the Israeli government.
Obama acknowledged both American and Israeli critics of the negotiations in his statement.
“I welcome a robust debate in the weeks and months to come. I am confident that we can show this deal is good for the security of the United States, for our allies, and for the world,” Obama said.
Obama repeatedly referred to the deal as “the best option” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He claimed there were almost no alternatives apart from a diplomatic solution and the use of force.
Obama also vowed his administration would “engage Congress” to ensure they can “play a constructive oversight role.” However, pointing to international involvement in the framework, Obama warned US lawmakers against killing an agreement.
“This is not simply a deal between my administration and Iran. This is a deal between Iran, the United States of America, and the major powers in the world, including some of our closest allies,” Obama said. “If Congress kills this deal, not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then … international unity will collapse.”
Obama also pointed out former President Ronald Reagan and President John F. Kennedy reached nuclear agreements with the Soviet Union, which he described as a more dangerous threat to national security than Iran.
While specifically addressing Netanyahu’s concerns, Obama stressed the US supports Israel. He said he has “directed” the White House “national security team to work closely with the new Israeli government” to address any concerns about a potential threat from Iran.
“It’s no secret that the Israeli prime minister and I disagree,” Obama said, adding, “This is the best option and I believe our nuclear experts can confirm that. … There is no daylight when it comes to our support for Israel’s security.”
AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool
Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the US team of negotiators, spoke from Switzerland after the president. He said the international community could have “confidence” that Iran’s nuclear program is “exclusively peaceful” if the terms of the agreement outlined in this framework are “adhered to.”
“We will not accept just any deal. … We will only accept a good deal. And today I can tell you that the political understanding with details that we have reached is a solid foundation for the good deal that we are seeking,” Kerry said. “It is the foundation for a deal that will see Iran reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 90%.”
Kerry also noted many elements of the deal do not have an expiration date.
“There will be no sunset to the deal that we are working to finalize. No sunset. None. The parameters of this agreement will be implemented in phases. Some provisions will be in place for 10 years. Others will be in place for 15 years. Others still will be in place for 25 years,” Kerry said. “But certain provisions, including many transparency measures, will be in place indefinitely into the future. They will never expire. ”
Kerry also said there are “provisions” to “deal with” Iran if it violates the terms of an ultimate agreement.