Amid a furious lobbying effort in Congress to secure enough votes for the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that blocking it would accelerate Tehran's path to a nuclear weapon. Linda So reports.
Three weeks after an agreement on Iran's nuclear program was reached between Tehran and six world powers, U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to sell the deal to critics. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "The bottomline is if Iran cheats, we can catch them and we will." Obama's speech at American University comes amid a furious lobbying effort in Congress to secure enough support to ensure the passage of the deal. Calling it the most important foreign policy debate for the U.S. since the decision to go war in Iraq, Obama said rejecting the deal would lead to serious consequences... and it would inevitably lead to another war in the Middle East. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "By killing this deal Congress would not merely pave Iran's pathway to a bomb, it would accelerate it." Opponents say the agreement doesn't go far enough to ensure Iran will never be able to develop a nuclear weapon. They also argue that lifting sanctions will only empower Tehran to do so. But Obama said many of the criticisms made widely by Republicans can be attributed to knee-jerk partisanship. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "I urge them to set aside political concerns, shut out the noise, consideration the stakes involved with the vote that you will cast." Congress has until September 17th to accept or reject the deal.