Obama defends nuclear deal with Iran
President Barack Obama has defended the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was the best option to protect US and Israeli national security
Washington: President Barack Obama has defended the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was the best option to protect US and Israeli national security and the agreement does not grants Tehran a right to enrich uranium.
In a conversation with the 10th annual Saban Forum, Obama reassured Israel about the US commitment to its security.
“With respect to the end state, I want to be very clear there’s nothing in this agreement or document that grants Iran a right to enrich,” Obama said in response to a question.
“We’ve been very clear that given its past behavior, and given existing UN resolutions and previous violations by Iran of its international obligations, that we don’t recognize such a right, and if, by the way, negotiations break down, there will be no additional international recognition that’s been obtained,” he said yesterday.
“So this deal goes away and we’re back to where we were before the Geneva agreement, and Iran will continue to be subject to all the sanctions that we put in place in the past and we may seek additional ones,” he added.
“But I think what we have said is we can envision a comprehensive agreement that involves extraordinary constraints and verification mechanisms and intrusive inspections, but that permits Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program,” said the US President.
“Now, in terms of specifics, we know that they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordor in order to have a peaceful nuclear program. They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program. They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program,” he said.
“So the question ultimately is going to be, are they prepared to roll back some of the advancements that they’ve made that would not justify – or could not be justified by simply wanting some modest, peaceful nuclear power, but, frankly, hint at a desire to have breakout capacity and go right to the edge of breakout capacity. If we can move that significantly back, then that is a net win,” he asserted.
“Precisely because we don’t trust the nature of the Iranian regime, I think that we have to be more realistic and ask ourselves, what puts us in a strong position to assure ourselves that Iran is not having a nuclear weapon and that we are protected? What is required to accomplish that, and how does that compare to other options that we might take?”
Obama said it was his strong belief that “we can envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if they have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity.”
Responding to the criticism of his Iranian policy, Obama said that the tough international sanctions brought Iran to the negotiations table.
“What we’ve said is that we do not loosen any of the core sanctions; we provide a small window through which they can access some revenue, but we can control it and it is reversible,” he said, adding that the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons is for a comprehensive, verifiable, diplomatic resolution.