“Either it’s resolved diplomatically through negotiations or it’s resolved through force, through war,” Obama told the press from the East Room of the White House.
Obama said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other critics have not presented an alternative to the deal. “What I haven’t heard is, ‘What is your preferred alternative?’” Obama said his critics wanted to eliminate Iran’s nuclear capacity, peaceful or otherwise, which he said was unrealistic.
Challenging criticism that the deal will enrich Iran and help it further destabilize the Middle East, the president said the deal is only meant to stop Tehran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon, nothing more.
“The starting premise of with our strategy with respect to Iran is that it would be a grave threat to the United States and our allies if they obtained a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. “We have always recognized that even if Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, that Iran poses challenges to our interests and our values….”
That said, the deal will hopefully form the basis of a constructive relationship between the West and Iran.
“But we’re not betting on it,” Obama said, adding that the resolution of the nuclear issue will help unite allies to pressure Iran on its use of terrorist proxies.