President Barack Obama is still trying to get the message across that the nuclear deal struck with Iran is a good one. He’s tried nearly every medium out there. Today he responded to questions on the question and answer service Quora.
As Congress continues to debate the merits of the deal, the White House is doing everything in its power to bring the American public onboard. Responding to postings on Quora, the President took time to address three specific questions about the Iran nuclear deal.
Here are the questions that Obama responded to as well as excerpts of his response:
…This agreement is not based on trust. It’s based exclusively on unprecedented verification. Never before has a nuclear non-proliferation agreement included such a robust and far-reaching monitoring and transparency regime. Under this agreement, Iran is prohibited from ever pursuing a nuclear weapon — and we will be in the strongest position ever to make sure that Iran follows through.
Under this deal, international inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be continuously monitoring every part of Iran’s entire nuclear program. That means if Iran tries to secretly divert any fissile material to try and build a weapon, the IAEA and the world will know. And, if Iran should try to stand up a covert nuclear program, IAEA inspectors can have access and inspect any site they deem suspicious. If there is a suspicious site in Iran, international inspectors can and will have eyes on it.
Under this deal, Iran will also have to significantly reduce the fissile material and technology it needs to build a weapon. Iran must reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98%. It must reduce the number of centrifuges in operation from roughly 20,000 to under 6,000. Iran will also have to reconfigure its Arak reactor so it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium.
In response to another question about what will prevent Iran from securing nuclear weapons, the President remarked:
Under this agreement, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon — period.
Every single pathway Iran could use is effectively blocked by this deal. Here’s how: It takes either enriched uranium or plutonium to build a nuclear weapon. The only site where Iran can create weapons-grade plutonium is at its Arak reactor. Under this deal, the core of the Arak reactor will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce weapons-grade plutonium. Furthermore, the spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country and Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years.
This deal also shuts off Iran’s uranium pathway by removing two-thirds of its centrifuges and getting rid of 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium, which — right now — is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs.
Lastly, to the question whether a rejection of the Iran nuclear deal by the U.S. Congress be the equivalent of a vote for war:
We can either prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon through diplomacy, or be left with a form of war. Those are the options. As Commander-in-Chief, I have not shied away from using force when necessary, but I cannot in good conscience place the burden of war on our men and women in uniform without testing a diplomatic agreement that achieves a better result. That is the lesson that I hope we’ve learned from more than a decade of war and the weight of its consequences. Diplomacy is not easy, but it is a better choice.
In addition to Quora, the Obama Administration has made use of other digital media outlets to push its message that the Iran deal is good for the country. It posted the entire wording of the deal on Medium, a seemingly unprecedented maneuver by the White House to let people read the agreement themselves and annotate it accordingly.
The timing of this outreach comes as Obama has secured enough votes from fellow Democrats in the U.S. Senate to block an override of his veto should Congress pass a disapproval law. At last count, 41 Democratic senators have publicly supported the Iran deal.
President Obama has had an account on the Q&A service for a while now and previously answered questions about another pressing national issue: Obamacare.
We’ve reached out to Quora for comment and will update if we hear back.