ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie accused President Barack Obama of telling “lies” about the Iran nuclear deal.
Christie spoke in Annapolis, Maryland Wednesday, after receiving an endorsement for his presidential run from fellow Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland. His remarks were posted in a video on his campaign’s YouTube channel.
“If Iran violates its commitments, there will be real consequences,” the president said. “Nuclear-related sanctions that have helped to cripple the Iranian economy will snap back into place.”
But Christie called Obama’s claims about the deal “just another in the series of his lies that he’s told the American people that they’re tired of.”
Christie claimed that what Obama called a provision that inspectors could come in “anytime, anywhere” to ensure compliance is toothless.
“We want to inspect someplace in Iran, we have to give them notice. They could say no. It goes to an arbitration panel that they’re a part of, and they have 24 days to make a decision,” Christie sad. “Well, if they’re playing around and cheating on this agreement, and they have 24 days to clean up the evidence of the cheating, how is that anytime, anywhere, Mr. President?”
Christie said Obama’s presentation of the inspection process amounts to deception.
“I mean, listen, if the president likes this deal, then go ahead and sell it, but sell it honestly. Don’t lie to the American people,” he said.
He said if elected president, he would not make any deals with Iran or countries like it.
“As president, this type of appeasement of petty dictatorships like Iran, and the theocracy that they run, and the terrorism that they support around the world, will not be tolerated in the Christie administration,” Christie said.
Obama on Wednesday said critics of the plan need to consider the alternatives.
Without the deal, according to the president, the world risks “even more war in the Middle East,” increases the chances of an arms race, and leaves open the possibility that Iran comes closer to having a nuclear weapon.
Obama warned the deal shouldn’t be allowed to “slip away” because the opportunity “may not come again in our lifetime.”
He said the U.S. faces a “fundamental choice” about whether to embrace the opportunity to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully.
The president’s remarks appeared aimed at Congress, where lawmakers are discussing legislation to try to stop the deal’s implementation.
“I expect the debate to be robust, and that’s how it should be,” Obama said, imploring lawmakers who are skeptical of the deal to “remember the alternative.”
Obama said critics should then explain why they think that the agreement won’t keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon — and and why they know better than experts like his energy secretary, Ernest Moniz.
The president challenged critics to come up with a better alternative to the deal, and suggested if their alternative is to rein in Iran through military force, they should be willing to say that.
Obama has threatened to veto any congressional legislation that would seek to block implementation of the agreement. But Congress could still override the president’s veto.
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