Rejecting Iran nuke deal will pave way to bomb - Obama

2015-08-05 21:37
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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Washington - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday launched an all-out campaign to convince Congress to approve the Iran nuclear deal, telling an audience at American University that it would be a historic mistake to squander the opportunity.

If legislators rejected the agreement, "Congress would not only pave Iran's pathway to the bomb, it would accelerate it", Obama warned.

The clock is ticking toward the September 17 deadline for Congress to weigh in on the agreement, sealed last month between Iran and six world powers.

Israel and its supporters in Washington have mounted a fierce lobbying effort to convince Congress to vote down the deal, and Obama has been meeting with Jewish leaders and members of Congress at the White House in recent days to argue for approval.

Obama has threatened to veto a potential rejection, which could only be overturned by two-thirds majorities in the Senate and the House to scuttle the deal.

Also on Wednesday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano was meeting behind closed doors in Washington with lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The senators invited him to explain the IAEA's role in verifying and monitoring Iran's compliance with dismantling some of its nuclear programme.

The meeting provoked criticism from Iran's parliament, whose spokesperson Hassan Asferi warned that the IAEA was risking becoming a pawn of US foreign policy.

The meeting calls "into question... the neutral status of the IAEA," he said, according to Iranian news agency ISNA.

But the spokesperson said Amano would also be invited to Tehran in order to answer the Iranian parliament's questions.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  iran  |  iran nuclear programme
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