There were a few things from the speech that stood out. One was Obama’s emphasis on the fact that the U.S. is giving up nothing as part of this deal except the punitive measures imposed on Iran over the nuclear issue. He compared this deal with Cold War-era arms control treaties to make the point that the latter imposed limitations on the U.S. and were somewhat riskier than the current deal. The implicit argument here was that these arms control treaties were also the right thing to do, and the deal is even more obviously so. Another striking part of the speech was how uncompromising Obama was in his conviction that the deal is clearly the best available option:
I’ve had to make a lot of tough calls as president, but whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls, it’s not even close.I would agree that it’s “not even close” to being a difficult decision, but I didn’t expect to hear that. Obama also countered hawkish alarmism about the “windfall” Iran will receive from sanctions relief by stating that Iran would be getting sanctions relief anyway in the absence of a deal or in the event that the deal was rejected, and he dismissed fears of Iran’s regional dominance by correctly pointing out the regime’s relative military weakness. He also repeatedly reminded the audience that Iran belongs to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and will always be barred from building a nuclear weapon. This is a very relevant detail that strangely goes unmentioned in much of the debate over the deal.
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