President Obama said he expects a “robust debate” about the budding deal with Iran over its nuclear program and fervently defended the draft accord.
 
“Here in the United States, I expect a robust debate,” he said in his weekly address, released Saturday. “We’ll keep Congress and the American people fully briefed on the substance of the deal.”
 
“As we engage in this debate, let’s remember — we really only have three options for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program,” Obama said, before enumerating them: “Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities — which will only set its program back a few years — while starting another war in the Middle East; abandoning negotiations and hoping for the best with sanctions — even though that’s always led to Iran making more progress in its nuclear program; or a robust and verifiable deal like this one that peacefully prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
 
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The address is part of an aggressive campaign on behalf of the administration to defend the agreement, announced Thursday, that provides the outlines of a final accord to be reached in June.
 
Under the terms, the U.S. and other Western nations would lift sanctions on Iran in return for limitations on the development of nuclear material and technology that could be used to make a nuclear weapon. International monitors would also be able to closely watch the program.
 
Some lawmakers are skeptical of a deal. House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWhat's a party caucus chair worth? Biden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty Maher chides Democrats: We 'suck the fun out of everything' MORE (R-Ohio) has said the agreement should be reviewed by Congress, and some Democrats have indicated that they remain skeptical.
 
Some in Congress have said they will pursue new sanctions against Iran, which the administration says would be fatal to the talks.
 
The White House has embarked on an aggressive push to sell critics on the deal. President Obama will speak with all four congressional leaders, a spokesman said Friday. He added that other top members of the administration are also calling lawmakers.
 
Obama made his own case in his address Saturday.
 
“As President and Commander in Chief, I firmly believe that the diplomatic option — a comprehensive, long-term deal like this — is by far the best option,” he said. “For the United States. For our allies. And for the world.”