President Barack Obama spoke Friday in a accommodating manner about the new leader of Iran and called congressional Republicans “extremists.”
Speaking from the White House Friday, Obama revealed that he spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first such communication since 1979, to tackle the Islamic country’s nuclear program.
“President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons,” Obama said. “I have made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations. So the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the international sanctions we have in place.”
Later, when addressing the domestic front, Obama talked about the importance of not allowing a government shutdown and approving an increase in the debt ceiling, criticizing congressional Republicans over demands to defund Obamacare.
“The American people have worked too hard to recover from a bunch of crisis, several of them now over the last couple of years inflicted by some of the same folks in Congress that we’re talking about now, to see extremists in Congress cause another crisis,” Obama said.
With regards to Iran’s nuclear program, the president said, “Resolving this issue could obviously serve as a major step forward in the relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
“I believe we’ve got a responsibility to pursue diplomacy, and we’ve got a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran,” Obama said. “I also communicated to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people.”
After opening his speech with Iran, Obama moved on to the threat of a government shutdown that could occur if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Democrat-controlled Senate can’t reach an agreement on whether to fund his signature health care law in the continuing resolution funding the government from Oct. 1 through Dec. 15.
“The federal government has a large role across the country and touches the lives of millions of people. Those people will be harmed,” Obama said. “Think about who you are hurting.”
On negotiating raising the debt limit, Obama said, it would be devastating on the global economy.
“We know it would have a profound destabilizing effect on the economy, the world economy because America is he bedrock of world investment,” Obama said.