Obama condemns 'chest beating' over Iran deal

Obama condemns 'chest beating' over Iran deal
© Getty Images

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

ADVERTISEMENT

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 KerryThe Memo: Democrats struggle to find the strongest swing-state candidate 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster Kentucky basketball coach praises Obama after golf round: 'He is a really serious golfer' MORE, Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizTwo years after Harvey's devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded Biden under pressure from environmentalists on climate plan Pelosi, Clinton among attendees at memorial reception for Ellen Tauscher MORE and Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewHogan urges Mnuchin to reconsider delay of Harriet Tubman bill Mnuchin says new Harriet Tubman bill delayed until 2028 Overnight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint 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.