Weekly Address: President Obama – A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President explained the comprehensive, long-term deal announced earlier this week that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement cuts off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon, implements unprecedented monitoring and inspections of Iran’s key nuclear facilities, and ensures that if Iran violates these terms, the strict sanctions previously imposed on the country will snap back into place. This is a good deal that demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure.

Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran

Remarks of President Barack Obama, The White House, July 18, 2015

This week, the United States and our international partners finally achieved something that decades of animosity has not – a deal that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This deal will make America and the world safer and more secure. Still, you’re going to hear a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it in the weeks ahead. So today, I want to take a moment to take those on one by one, and explain what this deal does and what it means.

First, you’ll hear some critics argue that this deal somehow makes it easier for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Now, if you think it sounds strange that the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and some of the world’s best nuclear scientists would agree to something like that, you’re right. This deal actually closes off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon. Today, Iran has enough nuclear material to produce up to 10 nuclear weapons. With this deal, they’ll have to ship 98% of that material out of the country – leaving them with a fraction of what it takes to make even one weapon. With this deal, they’ll have to repurpose two key nuclear facilities so they can’t produce materials that could be used for a nuclear weapon. So this deal actually pushes Iran further away from a bomb. And there’s a permanent prohibition on Iran ever having a nuclear weapon.

Second, you might hear from critics that Iran could just ignore what’s required and do whatever they want. That they’re inevitably going to cheat. Well, that’s wrong, too. With this deal, we will have unprecedented, 24/7 monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities. With this deal, international inspectors will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain. The verification process set up by this deal is comprehensive and it is intrusive – precisely so we can make sure Iran keeps its commitments.

Third, you might hear from critics that Iran faces no consequences if it violates this deal. That’s also patently false. If Iran violates this deal, the sanctions we imposed that have helped cripple the Iranian economy – the sanctions that helped make this deal possible – would snap back into place promptly.

There’s a reason this deal took so long to negotiate. Because we refused to accept a bad deal. We held out for a deal that met every one of our bottom lines. And we got it.

Does this deal resolve all of the threats Iran poses to its neighbors and the world? No. Does it do more than anyone has done before to make sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon? Yes. And that was our top priority from the start. That’s why it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure this deal holds. Because without this deal, there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program. There would be no monitoring, no inspections. The sanctions we rallied the world to impose would unravel. Iran could move closer to a nuclear weapon. Other countries in the region might race to do the same. And we’d risk another war in the most volatile region in the world. That’s what would happen without this deal.

On questions of war and peace, we should have tough, honest, serious debates. We’ve seen what happens when we don’t. That’s why this deal is online for the whole world to see. I welcome all scrutiny. I fear no questions. As Commander-in-Chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war. And on Tuesday, I’ll continue to press this case when I address the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Because nobody understands the true cost of war better than those who’ve actually served in this country’s uniform.

We have before us an historic opportunity to pursue a safer, more secure world for our children. It might not come around again in our lifetimes. That’s why we’re going to seize it today – and keep America a beacon of hope, liberty, and leadership for generations to come.

Thank you, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

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  5 comments for “Weekly Address: President Obama – A Comprehensive, Long-Term Deal with Iran

  1. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 7:04 am

    President Obama meets with America’s oldest living veteran:

    Transcript:

    THE PRESIDENT: Just very briefly, I want to introduce everybody who have not had a chance to meet her. Ms. Emma Didlake is our oldest living veteran — 110 years old, born in 1905, and served with distinction and honor, and received all sorts of commendations for her service during World War II.

    We are so grateful that she is here with us today. And it’s a great reminder of not only the sacrifices that the Greatest Generation made on our behalf, but also the kind of trailblazing that our women veterans made, African American veterans who helped to integrate our Armed Services. We are very, very proud of them. That’s why we got to make sure we do right by them.

    So it’s a great honor to have her here.

    Thank you, everybody.

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  2. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 7:10 am

    The president visited El Reno Federal Correctional Facility in OK on Thursday

    Transcript. Selected quotes:

    THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. So I’m just going to make a very quick statement.

    I want to thank the folks who were involved here in helping to arrange this visit at El Reno Federal Penitentiary. And this is part of our effort to highlight both the challenges and opportunities that we face with respect to the criminal justice system. […]

    Here at El Reno, there’s some excellent work that’s being done inside this facility to provide job training, college degrees, drug counseling. The question is not only how do we make sure that we sustain those programs here in the prison, but how do we make sure that those same kind of institutional supports are there for kids and teenagers before they get into the criminal justice system, and are there ways for us to divert young people who make mistakes early on in life so that they don’t get into the system in the first place.

    The good news is, is that we’ve got Democrats and Republicans who I think are starting to work together in Congress, and we’re starting to see bipartisan efforts in state legislatures as well to start to reexamine some of these sentencing laws, to look at what kinds of work we can do in the community to keep kids out of the criminal justice system in the first place, how we can build on the successes for rehabilitation of all individuals who are incarcerated, and then what can we do to improve reentry going forward. […]

    THE PRESIDENT: Visiting with these six individuals. I’ve said this before — when they describe their youth and their childhood, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different than the mistakes I made and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is they did not have the kinds of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.

    And I think we have a tendency sometimes to almost take for granted or think it’s normal that so many young people end up in our criminal justice system. It’s not normal. It’s not what happens in other countries.

    What is normal is teenagers doing stupid things. What is normal is young people making mistakes. And we’ve got to be able to distinguish between dangerous individuals who need to be incapacitated and incarcerated versus young people who, in an environment in which they are adapting but if given different opportunities, a different vision of life, could be thriving the way we are.

    That’s what strikes me — there but for the grace of God. And that I think is something that we all have to think about.

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  3. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 7:40 am

    A reminder that all the sanctions are not being lifted. Despite Major Garrett’s Foxian comment about the president being “content” to let American citizens languish in Iranian prisons, there are significant sanctions still in place on Iran:

    Only a small fraction of U.S. sanctions — the ones related to Iran’s nuclear activities — will be suspended as part of this deal.

    Sanctions related to terrorism and human rights, enacted by Congress beginning in 1995, will stay put. McGlone, a partner in the firm Latham & Watkins, says those sanctions include strict prohibitions.

    “As a general rule of thumb, any U.S.-based business and any U.S. person, unless specifically authorized, will be precluded from doing any business in Iran,” he says.

    There is an exception for civil aviation which will allow Boeing to sell commercial aircraft there. Also, food and medical supplies have not been subject to the trade embargo.

    The Europeans will be there, though.

    [Vanessa Sciarra, vice president at the Emergency Committee for American Trade,] points out that Europe’s sanctions, which are far less extensive and longstanding than U.S. sanctions, will be lifted quickly. European oil producers have said they’re eager to return to doing business with Iran’s oil industry. French automakers are also anxious to return to Iran.

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  4. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Newspaper coverage of the Iranian deal:




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  5. JanF
    July 18, 2015 at 9:02 am

    The United Nations will vote on the treaty on Monday angering the warmongers in the U.S. Senate:

    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has scheduled a vote for Monday morning on a resolution endorsing the historic nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — and the speed with which that vote has come up, so close after the deal’s signing, is rankling some in the U.S. Congress.

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power circulated a draft resolution in support of the JCPOA to the 15- council members Wednesday, including the other permanent members of the UNSC (China, Russia, France, and the U.K.)

    Rankle away, United Nations. The Republican Party’s leading lights have advocated for blowing up the UN building and have sent letters to Iranian leaders in an attempt to derail this historic agreement. Let’s get it done and let the chips fall where they may. If 2/3rds of Congress votes to keep the U.S. sanctions in place, they will do it without the support of the American people and will face the voters in 2016.

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