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Obama on Iran Critics: It's Always Easy to Talk Tough

President Obama hits back at critics of Iran deal, says U.S. “cannot close the door on diplomacy.”
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/26/2013, 12:15 AM

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Flash 90

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday hit back at those who criticized the deal that was reached over the weekend with Iran.

Speaking in San Francisco, Obama praised the talks that led to the deal with Iran, calling them “clear-eyed and principled” and saying that the United States “cannot close the door on diplomacy.”

“Tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it’s not the right thing for our security,” Obama charged.

Obama said the deal could help dismantle the history of “mistrust” between Iran and the West.

"If Iran seizes this opportunity and chooses to join the global community, then we can begin to chip away at the mistrust that’s existed for many many years between our two nations,” he said.

"When I first ran for president, I said it was time for a new era of American leadership in the world, one that turned the page on a decade of war and began a new era of engagement with the world," added Obama. "As president and as commander in chief, I've done what I've said."

The deal with Iran has been criticized not only by Israel, but also by a group of senators from both parties, who vowed Sunday to impose more sanctions on Iran despite the deal.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the deal on Sunday, saying. “As we learn more and more details about the agreement that was achieved last night in Geneva, it becomes increasingly clear how bad and dangerous this agreement is to the world, the region and Israel.”

“Iran is receiving billions of dollars in eased sanctions without having to pay any real price. Iran is receiving written approval to violate UN Security Council resolutions,” he added. “To a large degree, this agreement rescues Iran from the pressure it has been under and also gives it international legitimacy to continue its nuclear program. This is a bad agreement."

Shortly after his remarks on Sunday evening,  Netanyahu received a phone call from Obama to discuss the deal.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has also hit out at critics of the deal, saying that those who criticize it have a responsibility to “tell people what the better alternative is.”