President Obama says a constructive relationship with Iran could be a byproduct of the deal to limit its nuclear program, but it won’t happen immediately. If at all.
Obama told CNN in an interview airing Sunday that Iran’s “nuclear problem” must be dealt with first. He said the agreement reached last month by the U.S. and five other world powers to remove crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program achieves that goal “better than any alternative.”
Republican lawmakers largely disagree with the president’s assessment that the deal blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, as do some of Obama’s own Democrats.
Obama says resolving the Iranian nuclear issue makes it possible to open broader talks with Iran on other issues. He named Syria as an example.
“Is there the possibility that having begun conversations around this narrow issue that you start getting some broader discussions about Syria, for example, and the ability of all the parties involved to try to arrive at a political transition that keeps the country intact and does not further fuel the growth of ISIL and other terrorist organizations. I think that’s possible,” Obama said, referring to the Islamic State group by one of its acronyms. “But I don’t think it happens immediately.”