Obama: Lifting of sanctions will increase Iran's ability to finance terrorists

Sitting down with the BBC's North American editor Jon Sopel, the president touched upon a whole array of topics, devoting a considerable portion to Iran.

July 24, 2015 10:02
2 minute read.

Obama disscussing Iran in interview with BBC

Obama disscussing Iran in interview with BBC


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In a special interview with the BBC Friday, President of the United States Barack Obama admitted that the lifting of sanctions on Iran will increase the Islamic Republic's ability to finance terrorist organizations.

Sitting down with the BBC's North American editor Jon Sopel, the president touched upon a whole array of topics, devoting a considerable portion to Iran.

"Hezbollah for example, threatening to fire missiles at Israel, has no shortage of resources," the president added. "We have seen that even in times of distress, Iran is able to allocate resources in what it sees as its strategic priority."

During the interview, Obama made sure to stress that the possibility of military action remains on the table.

"Iran has proved that it is willing to change its priorities and its strategy," he said. "We have sent a clear message to the Iranians - though we closed the deal, we still have not closed account. I hope that solutions will be reached diplomatically, but if necessary, there is also a military option."

The president is on a full press campaign since the announcement of a breakthrough nuclear agreement with world powers and Iran, speaking on multiple media outlets outlining his administration's signature foreign policy achievement thus far, which is currently under review in the US Congress.

Asked about the hurdles the agreement may face in the hands of lawmakers who have considerable authority over its ratification,  the president said, "I am a certain that we will be able to pass the agreement " in Congress.

Under a bill reluctantly signed into law by Obama in May, Congress has until Sept. 17 to decide whether to approve or reject the agreement between Iran and world powers to rein in Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Deal opponents in the pro-Israel camp believe more lawmakers can be swayed by detailed arguments about what they see as loopholes that Iran could use to skirt the agreement.

Pressure from AIPAC, whose members' support is widely coveted, could also worry lawmakers up for re-election. AIPAC boasts 100,000 members.

At the same time, J Street, a smaller liberal pro-Israel group, is urging supporters to lobby Congress to support the Iran deal.

Kerry told reporters before the House meeting that the deal "will make the region, our friends and allies, safer. It will make the world safer ... in the absence of any viable alternative."

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