Obama Praises Iran Deal As "American Leadership"

Delegates from the United States and five allied nations reached an unprecedented deal with Iran early Tuesday morning, agreeing to implement a plan to lift the long-held economic sanctions against Iran if the government reduces its nuclear weapons stockpile. Speaking from the White House on Tuesday, President Obama praised the historic Iran Deal as a "diplomatic resolution" two years in the making. "We give nothing up by testing whether or not this problem can be solved peacefully," the president said, adding that 10 years down the line, "the person who holds this office will be in a far stronger position."

The historic deal will withdraw many of the sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union that have crippled Iran's economy for years. The White House called the plan a "comprehensive, long-term deal" that blocks Iran's path to creating destructive nuclear weapons, including a reduction of its uranium stockpile by 98 percent. The deal also requires Iran to lower its uranium enrichment rate to just 3.67 percent — a level that's too low for creating a nuclear bomb, according to the White House.

"This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change," Obama said Tuesday. "Change that makes our country and the world safer and more secure."

The president also marked the historic deal as a symbol of "American leadership," and praised U.S. delegates for negotiating from a place of "strength and principle." Obama said he believes the plan would not only stop the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, but also help restore Iran's place in the international community.

"Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off."

The president emphasized that the agreement was not made out of sincere trust, but "verification," and reiterated that for the first time in recent history, the United States and other leading powers are in a position in which they can corroborate Iran's commitments. "As Iran takes steps to implement this deal, it will receive relief from the sanctions" imposed by the United States and the United Nations, Obama said. "This relief will be phased in. Iran must complete key nuclear steps before it begins to receive sanctions relief."

Now that the nuclear deal has the full support of the international community, Obama is looking toward Congress, where the next — and perhaps greater — challenge lies. Congress will have the chance to review the details of the deal. But the president, who's been more forceful with his Republican-controlled Congress in his second term, sent a clear message Tuesday morning: don't mess with me.

"I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal," Obama said.

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