‘Ideological’ or ‘illogical’: President Obama responds to Iran deal critics

President Obama is facing deep skepticism in Congress, which votes next month on whether to disapprove the nuclear deal with Iran. The president contends the public will better appreciate the deal in the years after it’s taken effect.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep spoke with President Obama about the deal in an interview that will air Tuesday and Wednesday on Morning Edition.

In a speech last week, the president warned of the consquences of failure if Congress were to reject the deal, and how the world could look without it.

In his interview with NPR, the president acknowleged that some of the criticisms of the deal are true, espeically the temporary nature of the some of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

But Obama also spoke strongly of his critics, saying they were either “ideological” or “illogical.” Forceful language from the president, while many Republicans as well as some prominent Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, have said they will vote against the deal.

‘My passions show just a little bit more’

Inskeep also spoke to Obama about race — which the president has addressed a lot this summer, especially following the deadly shooting in Charleston, S.C.

Some see him as speaking out more forcefully on racial issues than he has in the past but, when asked about that, the president didn’t fully agree.

“That I don’t buy,” Obama responded.

“I think it’s fair to say that if, in my first term, Ferguson had flared up, as president of the United States, I would have been commenting on what was happening in Ferguson,” he said.

But he did suggest that he’s just a little more confident now, having been “around this track” before:

“Here’s one thing I will say: That I feel a great urgency to get as much done as possible. And, there’s no doubt that after over six and a half years on this job, I probably have an easier time juggling a lot of different issues. And, it may be that my passions show a little bit more. Just because I have been around this track for now for a while,” Obama said.