WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama hailed Tuesday’s deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program as a historic milestone that will block Tehran’s path to an atomic bomb for the next decade.
Obama, in an early morning address from the White House, called on Congress to approve the deal and threatened to veto any vote against it.
Obama, who had made an Iran nuclear agreement his signature foreign policy goal, said “no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.”
“I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal,” Obama said. “I am confident that this deal will meet the security interests of the United States and our allies.’’
Congress has 60 days to review and vote on the deal.
The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers led by the U.S. puts strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities for 10 years, after which the constraints will ease over the next five years.
The terms are designed to keep Iran at least one year away from being capable to amass enough nuclear fuel for a bomb.
In exchange, world powers will lift economic sanctions on Iran, freeing up more than $100 billion in frozen assets.
Obama faces strong opposition to a deal on Capitol Hill and among American allies in the Middle East.
Lawmakers from both parties have expressed deep skepticism that the agreement will block all pathways for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, as Obama said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a “historic mistake,” and Arab leaders also are expected to raise concerns.
Obama said the Iran nuclear deal marks the beginning of an effort to “test whether or not this region can move in a different direction.”