US President Barack Obama has vehemently defended the Iran nuclear deal in a historic speech championing diplomacy. Obama has hailed the deal as "the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated."
At the American University in Washington, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday defended a deal struck between the P5+1 and Iran, which would curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting crushing sanctions.
"This deal is not just the best choice among alternatives - this is the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated," Obama stated.
Diplomacy or war?
The US president emphasized the deal's foundation in diplomacy, saying that "the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war."
"The prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent. The ban on weapons-related research is permanent," Obama said.
The US president lashed out at critics in Congress, saying that disapproving of the nuclear deal would prompt "another war in the Middle East."
The US president also referred to the consequences of the US invasion of Iraq during the tenure of former President George W. Bush.
"Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran deal," Obama said.
"We now have a solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, without resorting to war," noted Obama.
'If Congress kills this deal'
Obama often referred to the late President John F. Kennedy's 1963 speech advocating for a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, hailed as a landmark moment in diplomacy.
"If Congress kills this deal, we will lose...America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy," Obama said.
Congress has until September 17 to approve of the agreement, which faces staunch opposition from Republicans, who hold majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Republicans would have to secure a two-thirds vote in both chambers in order to override an expected veto by Obama.