Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he always felt President Obama's notion that lifting sanctions against Iran through the nuclear deal could help the rogue regime change its ways was "a stretch."
In an interview airing Sunday on CBS program Face The Nation that delved into the controversial nuclear agreement, Gates added he didn't personally see the outright manipulation of the public depicted in a recent profile of top Obama adviser Ben Rhodes.
"Conclusions some have drawn in reading that article about Ben Rhodes is that he shaped the environment for the Iran deal, that he misled the public," host John Dickerson said. "Did you see that from your observation of the Iran deal and its being sold by the White House?"
"Well, I didn't have that sense," Gates said. "I thought some of the things the White House was saying in terms of believing that lifting the sanctions could, over time, lead the regime in Iran to change its stripes and become a normal country, if you will, I always thought that was a stretch. But I didn't have the sense that people were being manipulated. That was news to me from that article."
Sanctions relief against Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, has been among the most contentious facets of the nuclear deal, which has been championed by the Obama administration as a landmark agreement that avoids war. Critics have pointed to numerous concessions the U.S. made to Iran in its negotiations, in addition to the Islamic Republic's continued testing of ballistic missiles and belligerent rhetoric toward Israel and the U.S.