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Obama Defends Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about an agreement reached with Iran on its nuclear program at the White House in Washington, Nov. 23, 2013.
President Barack Obama has defended the nuclear deal world powers struck with Iran, calling it the "right thing" for security.

Israeli officials and some members of Congress have criticized the agreement, saying it allows Iran to keep too much of its nuclear program intact while offering too much in sanctions relief.

Obama said late Monday in Los Angeles that even after the agreement, all options remain on the table for ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

Earlier in San Francisco, the president hailed the pact as the first time progress on Iran's nuclear program has been halted in a decade, and stressed the need for continuing diplomatic efforts and not committing to "an endless cycle of conflict."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a national security team to Washington in the coming days to consult with the Obama administration on a permanent resolution to the Iranian nuclear dispute.

Netanyahu called the interim deal signed Sunday in Geneva "a historic mistake."

The agreement calls for Iran to limit or freeze parts of its nuclear program and accept more inspections for six months.

In return, the United Nations Security Council and a group of six world powers that includes the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany will ease some sanctions on the Iranian economy. They insist the relief is targeted and reversible if Iran fails to meet its requirements.

Israeli leaders see a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence because of Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise.

Related video report by VOA's Al Pessin:
Iran Nuclear Pact Sets New Dynamics in Motion
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