Obama hails Iran framework as ‘historic’ understanding

Barack Obama
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama heralded a framework nuclear understanding with Iran as a “historic” agreement and warned Congress Thursday against taking action that could upend work toward a final deal.

“The issues at stake here are bigger than politics,” Obama said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden. “These are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts.”

Obama spoke hours after negotiators in Switzerland reached a framework agreement outlining limits on Iran’s nuclear program and setting the stage for work on a final deal over the next three months.

The president called the agreement “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.” He said verification mechanisms built into the framework agreed to in Switzerland hours earlier would ensure that “if Iran cheats, the world will know it.”

Obama has invested significant political capital in the nuclear negotiations. The talks have strained the U.S. relationship with Israel, which sees Tehran as an existential threat, and deepened tensions with Congress.

One of Obama’s toughest challenges will be convincing lawmakers to hold off on legislation that would authorize new sanctions on Iran. He warned anew Thursday that approving new sanctions in the midst of the delicate diplomacy could scuttle the talks.

“It’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of international diplomacy,” he warned.

Obama said his administration would fully brief lawmakers on the agreement and he planned to speak to congressional leaders later in the day.

The U.S.-led diplomatic negotiations have also sparked concerns among allies in the Middle East who fear Iran could be left on the brink of a nuclear bomb. Israel and several Arab nations also say the nuclear talks ignore Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing activity in the region.

The president said he had spoken with the Saudi king and planned to discuss the agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also announced that he was inviting the leaders of six Gulf nations — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait — to Washington this spring.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s