Obama condemns 'chest beating' over Iran deal

Obama condemns 'chest beating' over Iran deal
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President Obama on Tuesday offered a full-throated defense of the Iran nuclear deal, saying opponents’ “chest beating” will accomplish nothing.

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In a speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Pittsburgh, the president said “there’s already a lot of shaky information out there” about the agreement, adding that the administration is “going to make sure the people know the facts.”

In comments similar to ones he’s made since the accord was announced last week, Obama said the deal cut off “every single” pathway for Iran to get a nuclear bomb.

He also touted the agreement’s provisions on inspections and others that curtail Tehran’s ballistic missile research, saying “without a deal, we don’t get that.”

Obama promised that if Iran attempts to get a bomb despite the deal, the U.S. president at the time would be in “stronger position” to react, including possible military action.

He said the debate over the deal “echoes some of the failed policies and mindsets” that led the U.S. into war in Iraq.

“We learned painfully where that kind of thinking can lead,” he said. “Too often it would play into the hands of our enemies.”

“I believe there’s a smarter, more responsible way to protect our national security,” Obama told the audience.

Instead of “chest beating,” which “sounds good in sound bites but accomplishes nothing,” months of diplomacy have given hope of resolving international disputes without armed conflict and “that is strength and that is American leadership,” he said.

The president’s comments come as senior administration officials prepare to storm Capitol Hill to sell skeptical lawmakers on the agreement.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryShould President Trump, like President Obama, forsake human rights in pursuit of the deal with a tyrant? GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran MORE, Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizPope to meet with oil execs to discuss climate change: report Rick Perry's travel cost Energy Department ,560 during first 7 months in office: report Iran deal on the line as Trump nears deadline MORE and Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system MORE will hold multiple meetings with lawmakers, in public hearings and behind closed doors, to explain the merits of the deal.

The White House on Tuesday also launched a new Twitter handle and website to market the nuclear accord.

The new Twitter account — @TheIranDeal — offers “facts about the deal and fact-checks on misinformation and falsehoods,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz tweeted.

Even with the deal, Obama said, the U.S. won’t let Iran “off the hook” for its support of terror groups in the Middle East, noting that certain sanctions will remain in place.

He also said that Washington “won’t relent” until American hostages in Iran are released.

Families of a Washington Post journalist, a former Marine, a pastor and a former FBI agent have called on U.S. negotiators to continue pushing for their release.

“These Americans need to be back home with their families,” Obama said.