Obama: Politics Pushing Opposition to Nuclear Pact

Obama: Politics Pushing Opposition to Nuclear PactObama: Politics Pushing Opposition to Nuclear Pact

US President Barack Obama said Republicans are opposing the Iran nuclear deal because his name is on it, brushing off criticism from a majority in Congress.

Ahead of next month's deadline for a vote that could derail the agreement, Obama argued that solid Republican opposition was unsurprising. He cited Republicans' resistance to his health care law and budget proposals as evidence that their recent hostility had nothing to do with what is in the deal.

"Unfortunately, a large portion of the Republican Party, if not a near unanimous portion of Republican representatives, are going to be opposed to anything that I do, and I have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics," Obama told NPR News in an interview released on Monday, the AP reported.

On the Iran deal, Obama has tried to attract as much Democratic support as possible before Congress votes on the agreement roughly a month from now. The White House has acknowledged that Congress probably will pass legislation opposing the deal, which Obama will veto. Obama's goal is to secure enough Democratic votes to prevent Congress from overriding his veto.

So far, 34 members of the House of Representatives, all Democrats, have announced support, along with 17 Democratic senators. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Monday became the latest to side with Obama. It takes a two-thirds vote of the 435 House members and 100 senators to override a presidential veto.

Obama said, "I don't think (the Republican opposition to the deal) is a surprise to anybody. What I do know, though, is that when this agreement is implemented and we've seen centrifuges coming out of facilities like Fordo and Natanz, and we've got inspectors on the ground and it becomes clear that Iran in fact is abiding by this agreement, then attitudes will change, because people will recognize that, in fact, whatever parade of horribles was presented in opposition have not come true.

"That, instead, what we've seen is an effective way to bind Iran to a commitment (to keep its nuclear work peaceful), and in that scenario, it'll probably be forgotten that Republicans uniformly opposed it."

Tehran denies its nuclear program may have any military objectives, saying the work has always been for peaceful purposes.