Updated on August 5, 2015, at 12:55 p.m. ET
President Obama said Wednesday the deal with Iran on its nuclear program does not resolve all our problems with the Islamic republic, “but it achieves one of our most critical security objectives.”
“This is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated,” Obama said.
Obama’s speech was at American University, the same place President Kennedy called for diplomacy and nuclear disarmament at the height of the Cold War. Wednesday’s speech also fell on the anniversary of the nuclear test-ban treaty signed by the U.S., U.K. and the Soviet Union in 1963. Obama said the agreement builds on that strong tradition of Cold War-era diplomacy.
The agreement with Iran has praised by many nonproliferation experts, but criticized on Capitol Hill as well as in Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it a “historic mistake.” Critics say the deal offers Iran many incentives, including sanctions relief, and gets too little in return.
Obama, in his speech Wednesday, spoke directly to the Israeli people, saying their concerns were “understandable,” given the nature of Iran’s theocratic regime, but: “A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous … than an Iran that benefits from sanctions relief.”