Obama on Iran Agreement: 'It Is a Good Deal'

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday said a framework agreement reached at talks in Switzerland on Iran's nuclear program is "a good deal" that would, if fully implemented, prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and help make the world safer.

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he would talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - a fierce critic of an Iran deal - as well as U.S. congressional leaders later on Thursday, and had already spoken with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

"It is a good deal," Obama said.

"This is the best option," he added, especially when compared to military action.Obama, who delayed a scheduled trip to Kentucky and Utah to make the statement after negotiators announced the agreement, addressed critics of the talks with Iran and acknowledged that the framework deal alone would not erase distrust between the Washington and Tehran.

"Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said.

"If this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world safer," he said.

The framework agreement would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon, Obama said as he sought to sell the deal to the American public and U.S. lawmakers.

"Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. So this deal is not based on trust. It's based on unprecedented verification," Obama added.

Obama said there was always the possibility that Iran would try to cheat on the deal.

"If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. Iran's past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed," Obama said.

Obama on Iran Agreement: 'It Is a Good Deal' | World