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Obama Defends the US-Iran Nuclear Deal, White House Illustrative Details

July 22, 2015 



Remarks by the President to the VFW National Convention
David Lawrence Convention Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

White House, July 21, 2015

The following part of the Obama speech is about the US-Iran nuclear deal:


"But we’re not scared to engage.  We also see the strength of American diplomacy in our comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran -- because we must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  And we’re now engaged in an important debate -- which is a good thing.  We are a democracy.  Unfortunately, you may have noticed there’s already a lot of shaky information out there.  So even as I make the case of why this is a critical deal to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, we’re going to make sure the people know the facts.  And here are some basic facts.
With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program.  Iran is prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon, permanently.  Without a deal, those paths remain open and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.  With this deal, we gain unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and monitor them 24/7.  Without a deal, we don’t get that.  With this deal, if Iran cheats, sanctions snap back on.  Without a deal, the sanctions unravel.  With this deal, we have a chance to resolve the challenge of Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon, peacefully.  Without it, we risk yet another conflict in the Middle East.
Now, if Iran tries to get a bomb despite this agreement --10 years from now, or 20 years from now -- the American President will be in a stronger position to take whatever additional steps are necessary, including any option of military action, to prevent that from happening.  And those are the facts.  That’s the choice.  And for the sake of our national security and the sake of future generations, we need to make the right choice on this critical issue.
And I also want to make a broader point.  In the debate over this deal, we’re hearing the echoes of some of the same policies and mindset that failed us in the past.  Some of the same politicians and pundits that are so quick to reject the possibility of a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program are the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq, and said it would take a few months.  And we know the consequences of that choice and what it cost us in blood and treasure.
So I believe there’s a smarter, more responsible way to protect our national security -- and that is what we are doing.  Instead of dismissing the rest of the world and going it alone, we’ve done the hard and patient work of uniting the international community to meet a common threat.  Instead of chest-beating that rejects even the idea of talking to our adversaries -- which sometimes sounds good in sound bites, but accomplishes nothing -- we’re seeing that strong and principled diplomacy can give hope of actually resolving a problem peacefully.
Instead of rushing into another conflict, I believe that sending our sons and daughters into harm’s way must always be a last resort, and that before we put their lives on the line, we should exhaust every alternative. That’s what we owe our troops.  That is strength and that is American leadership.  
Of course, even with this deal, we’ll continue to have serious differences with the Iranian government, its support of terrorism, proxies that destabilize the Middle East.  So we can’t let them off the hook.  Our sanctions for Iran’s support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program and its human rights violations -- those sanctions will remain in place.  And we will stand with allies and partners, including Israel, to oppose Iran’s dangerous behavior.
And we are not going to relent until we bring home our Americans who are unjustly detained in Iran.  Journalist Jason Rezaian should be released.  Pastor Saeed Abedini should be released.  Amir Hekmati, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, should be released.  Iran needs to help us find Robert Levinson.  These Americans need to be back home with their families.  

There’s one more aspect of American leadership I want to discuss because, even more than sending Americans to war, real strength is measured by how we take care of our veterans when you come home.  VFW, working together, we’ve made real progress.  We’ve won historic increases in veterans funding.  We’ve made VA benefits available to more than 2 million veterans who didn’t have them before, including more Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange.  That was a commitment I made when I ran for office, we’re keeping that commitment."

Full text of the speech can be accessed at:  

White House illustrative details of the US-Iran nuclear deal:  


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