Obama to Iran: It's Now or Never on Nuclear Deal
President Barack Obama has made a direct appeal to Iranians on a nuclear deal. In a video message, the president told Tehran that another moment to pursue better relations between Iran and the U.S. may not come again soon.
"The days and weeks ahead will be critical. Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain. And there are people, in both our countries and beyond, who oppose a diplomatic resolution," he said.
"I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully an opportunity we should not miss," he continued.
"My message to you - the people of Iran - is that, together, we have to speak up for the future we seek," he said.
The video was released after a mixed message emerged from nuclear talks in Switzerland where Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart hailed progress.
But according to the Wall Street Journal, talks have reportedly hit a snag over ending sanctions.
As the March 31 deadline nears for an agreement, Iran wants U.N. sanctions lifted as the deal begins to take effect. But the U.S. and its European allies demand that sanctions be suspended or phased out over a period of years.
Critics say the sanctions have hurt Iran, which is why they're at the talks, and that the sanctions should not be eased.
The deal would reportedly allow Tehran to keep some nuclear centrifuges working that it says would be used for peaceful purposes.
Republicans warn that a possible agreement could allow Iran develop nuclear weapons. And some have been going right to the key question of the possible deal - will it let Iran go ahead and build those weapons?
"Are they or are they not about to make a very bad deal that will allow the Iranians, one of the worst regimes in the world, to continue to have their nuclear infrastructure?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., challenged.
As critics continue to raise serious questions about the proposed deal, members of both parties say no matter what the Obama administration wants to do, Congress should review any proposed deal with Iran so they can decide if it would really stop Iran's nuclear program.
If no deal is reached, Iran could go ahead with its nuclear projects. And critics wonder just how serious Iran is about stopping that program - deal or no deal.