The president of the Council on Foreign Relations spoke Monday about President Obama’s rhetoric on the Iran deal, which he said was “offensive,” “over the top,” and small.
“The White House has been trying to delegitimize opposition to the Iran agreement. I find that offensive,” CFR President Richard Haass said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
The Obama administration is in the middle of a media blitz to sell the Iran deal to Congress as polling shows American voters oppose the deal 57 percent to 28 percent. Despite this effort, prominent Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) have been peeling away from the president’s coalition, prompting attacks from the White House and liberal allies.
“Even if he [Schumer] came out on the other side of the bill, it is deeply, deeply offensive suggesting that a call this close for people who have supported not only Israel but the defense of this nation—and legitimately believe it puts our nation and allies at risk—to delegitimize him this way is pretty stunning,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.
“It’s over the top,” Haass said. “This president gave the greatest speech, I would think, of his presidency at Charleston six weeks ago. Six weeks later he gave the smallest speech of his presidency at American University. It has been an interesting time.”
Haass said that accepting the deal will have long-term ramifications for future presidents and the region.
“This is going to be a major national security challenge for decades to deal not just with Iran and its future nuclear capabilities but that of several neighbors,” Haass said. “This will be front and center for not just this president and his successor but his successor’s successor.”
The Iran deal before Congress would give Iran roughly $100 billion in previously-frozen assets plus access to critical financial markets and sanctions relief on weapons purchases and ballistic missile development in exchange for a temporary pause of Iran’s nuclear program.