President Barack Obama has defended the Iranian nuclear arms deal during a news conference with reporters, but his assurances haven’t satisfied Nebraska’s United States Senators.
Obama acknowledged differences with Iran remain, even in wake of what he calls an historic deal, such as its support of terrorism and the use of proxies to destabilize the Middle East.
Obama insisted the deal meets the national security interests of the United States and its allies.
“This deal is our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon,” Obama told reporters during the formal East Room news conference in the White House.
“I thought the president was kind of defensive,” U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer answered when asked whether anything the president said persuaded her to be less harsh about the deal.
Fischer did say she was glad Obama stayed to answer questions about the deal, though she said the news conference failed to address some of the more pressing questions about the agreement.
“It really didn’t get into the meat of it,” according to Fischer.
The news conference held by President Obama didn’t persuade another critic, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse.
“This deal basically guarantees that Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state,” Sasse told Nebraska Radio Network in a telephone interview, rejecting the president’s declaration that the agreement cuts off any pathway to an Iran backed by nuclear weapons.
Sasse said the deal presented to Congress differs greatly from the goals set 18 months ago. Iran has an estimated 17,000 spinning centrifuges. According to Sasse, the administration first sought to eliminate all of the centrifuges, which he says were developed despite international sanctions against such development. That number moved to 4,000 with the final deal settling on approximately 6,000; 1,000 of which will be advanced centrifuges, edging the country even closer to development nuclear weapons.
“In every way, the administration has moved the goalposts on their own objectives,” Sasse said.
The agreement was announced in Vienna, a result of 18 months of negotiations between Iran and a coalition led by the United States which included Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China.
Congress has 60 days to consider the deal.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]