U.S. President Barack Obama is planning to make a major speech later this week to discuss the international accord to restrain Iran's nuclear program.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama will raise arguments he believes are central to supporting the accord, which bars Iran from building an atomic weapon in the coming years in exchange for lifting crippling Western and U.N. sanctions.
Earnest also said the president thinks the U.S. Congress should support an international effort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon through diplomacy.
The spokesman said no one else has put forth a legitimate option to curtailing Iran's nuclear program other than the military option.
Skepticism about Iran
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday with top intelligence officials expressing doubts about America’s ability to detect any cheating by Iran on the terms of last month’s landmark international nuclear accord.
“No, I am not confident of that. I don’t think anybody could tell you that they are particularly confident about that,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker.
Congress is in the midst of a 60-day review of the pact and is expected to vote next month on whether to accept or reject it. If it is rejected, Obama has promised to veto the legislation, which would force the Senate and House to muster a two-thirds majority to override the veto.
Many lawmakers say they need to be convinced that Iran’s compliance can be verified and any violations detected. Corker said the task is far greater than simply keeping tabs on Iran’s known nuclear facilities.
The chairman is not predicting how Congress will vote after exhaustive hearings on Capitol Hill.
“I think by the time this is done, everybody will have a very fulsome view of the deal," he said. "And then people are going to have to make a really tough decision as how they feel about whether it should go forward or not.”
Most Americans disapprove
A public opinion poll released Monday shows by a 2-1 margin U.S. citizens oppose the Iranian nuclear accord and think it will make the world less safe.
The poll by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut showed registered U.S. voters, by a 57 percent to 28 percent margin, oppose the deal the United States and five other world powers finalized last month with Tehran.
By a similar 58 - 30 percent margin, the voters said the deal would make the world less safe. A total of 1,644 people were surveyed, with the rest of the people questioned saying they had no opinion, did not know whether they favor the deal or whether it will make the world safer.
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