President Barack Obama lashed out at critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who argue that a recently inked nuclear agreement with Iran does little to rein in the rogue regime’s ability to construct a bomb, during a press conference Wednesday…

Asked whether the administration could have been tougher with Iran at the negotiating table, Obama demurred.

“There is nobody who thinks Iran would or could ever accept” a full dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure. “And the international community does not take the view that Iran cannot have a peaceful nuke program.”

“So we don’t have diplomatic leverage to eliminate every vestige of a peaceful nuclear program in Iran,” Obama said. “But we do have the leverage to ensure they don’t have a weapon. That’s what we’ve done.”

President Barack Obama sought to calm concerns Wednesday that Iran would have to be notified 24 days in advance of an inspection under the nuclear deal reached Tuesday.

“Let’s take the issue of 24 days. This has been, I think, swirling today, the notion that this is insufficient in terms of inspections,” Obama said. “Keep in mind, first of all, that we’ll have 24/7 inspections of declared nuclear facilities. So then the issue is: What if they try to develop a covert program?”…

“This is not something you hide in a closet,” Obama said. “This is not something you put on a dolly and kind of wheel off somewhere. And by the way, if we identify an undeclared site that we’re suspicious about, we’re going to be keeping eyes on it, so we’re going to be monitoring what the activity is, and that’s going to be something that will be evidence if we think some funny business is going on there, that we can then present to the international community.”

Obama said there is only one other option to the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Either [it is] resolved through negotiations or it is resolved through war,” Obama said Wednesday during a White House press conference…

“No one has presented to me or the American people a better alternative,” Obama said of the critics.

In this game of chicken, the Iranians probably calculated that if the talks collapsed the following might happen:

1.) Iran could selectively endorse those provisions of the April 2 “Framework Deal” that favored Tehran’s interests, thus appearing cooperative despite the failed talks. 2.) The international coalition that had sustained sanctions would soon fray, removing any further impetus for Iran to compromise. 3.) Iran would then be well-positioned to pursue enrichment without suffering the intrusive inspections regime that would have been imposed by a negotiated agreement. 4.) The U.S. then would have to choose between a policy of containment and going to war with Iran. 5.) If the U.S. resorted to force, Iran’s nuclear program would absorb a tremendous blow, but it would probably be rebuilt with the full support of the Iranian populace and sympathy from much of the international community.

Iran’s leaders believed that a failed deal could be better for Tehran than for Washington

But the bigger and more fundamental strategic problem was two decades of incoherent U.S. Iran policy. Based in part on the unrealistic demand that Iran accept “zero enrichment” as the basis for any deal, this policy unwittingly abetted the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, on Wednesday called on Congress to reject the Iran nuclear agreement

“Unfortunately, this proposed agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest,” the group said in a statement. “Instead, it would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”

AIPAC said it had outlined five criteria for a good deal, and “in each of these areas, the proposed agreement has significant flaws.”

AIPAC noted that the deal does not allow inspectors to examine Iranian nuclear sites “anytime, anywhere”; does not condition sanctions toward verifying Iran meet demands on the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program; it starts to lift sanctions immediately; it lifts restrictions in eight years; and doesn’t dismantle any nuclear centrifuges.

Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, says the nuclear agreement with Iran “condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf.”…

Kirk added that he thought the agreement will yield “more nukes, and more terrorists, and more irresponsibility by the Iranians,” saying he thought Iran will now increase their influence in Iraq and Yemen.

“This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler,” Kirk continued, saying he believed Obama only went through with the deal because he has a poor understanding of history and did not realize appeasement made war more likely. Kirk said he thought the deal meant that Israel would now have to take “military action against Iran.”…

Kirk concluded that “tens of thousands of people in the Middle East are gonna lose their lives because of this decision by Barack Hussein Obama.”

The American people need to clearly understand what their president has done. He’s granting billions of dollars in sanctions relief to a nation that put bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Iran isn’t ending its war against America. It’s still working — every day — to kill Americans, including the Americans Barack Obama leads as commander-in-chief of our armed forces. There is no honor in this agreement. Moreover, there is no honor in leaving innocent Americans behind — to rot in Iranian prisons — so that President Obama can declare peace in his time. Compared to rewarding killers and turning its back on innocent American prisoners, the Obama administration’s lies about the negotiations are a small thing indeed. After all, dishonorable people do dishonorable things.

Every member of Congress should be made to answer this question: Do you believe in rewarding regimes that place bounties on the heads of American soldiers? If so, then tell the American people. But don’t tell them that this agreement brings peace, because no reasonable definition of the term includes Iran’s deadly, 36-year-long terror campaign against America and its allies.

I think the nuclear issue was a mere pretext, a Hitchcockian McGuffin. Iran will be a nuclear state, and very soon. The joke inspections regime – under which Teheran can block any inspections for the best part of a month – will facilitate the nuclearization of Iran and prevent anyone who objects to it – such as Israel – from doing anything about it. That’s a given.

But that’s not what the talks were about. Obama’s vision of the post-American Middle East sees Iran as the dominant power, and that’s what the negotiations were there to finesse. As I said to Sean, Obama’s belief that American power and influence has been bad for the world extends beyond America itself to America’s allies. So on missile defense he takes the side of Russia over US allies like Poland and the Czech Republic; in the Falklands he takes the side of Argentina over the United Kingdom; and now in the Middle East he takes the side of Iran over the Sunni Arab monarchies and Israel.

This agreement will have bloody and brutal consequences.

The president has been determined to prove since before his election that the reason Iran is so troublesome is because the world, in particular the United States, won’t be solicitous of it, nice to it, accommodating to it, and won’t extend the hand of cooperation and make it a friend and ally in bettering the world.

That is what this whole deal has been about from day one. Obama’s motive has always and only been about demonstrating the validity of his theory that if we will be nice to Iran, bring it in from the cold, “turn the other cheek” to its understandable bad behavior, then it will reciprocate. It will even become a force for peace and stability in its region…

Well, the president has his deal. Only the Congress has a chance to undo it. It is likely that Congress will disapprove the deal by a simple majority but fail to overcome the president’s veto. Then we’ll surely see if the president’s theory is valid. We’ll see if Iran slaps the other cheek.

I’ve always said, “We can survive this President, but can we survive the people who voted for him a SECOND time?” But after today, do you believe there is assurance we will survive this President? His wink and a nod to an evil regime hell-bent on destroying us just made his “fundamental transformation” job a whole lot easier.

We must build up the foundation again; rebuild the wall protecting our – and Israel’s – sovereignty. There are 554 days until we do that, by fundamentally restoring America. In the meantime, Congress, stop the madness. Do your job. Veto Obama’s act of capitulation. Take the white flag of surrender out of this President’s hand.

And by the way, politicians, any of you supporting this while still sending our sons and daughters to war under the pretense of fighting threatening regimes; any of you joining the left’s group hug around Iran’s intentions, I question whether you are fit to shake the hand of a single sacrificial veteran or active duty American.

[The deal] does not give American hard-liners what they want: an Iran that is forbidden from pursuing nuclear weapons indefinitely. But it forestalls what they most fear, Iran developing nuclear weapons while it is fully isolated from the West.

The disappointment with the deal is really a disappointment with the weakened position of the United States and the limits of its power. The U.S. is already stretched across the region: It is engaging ISIS, dealing with the partial or full disintegration of at least three states (Libya, Syria, and Iraq), and keeping the lid on a war in Yemen sponsored by our ally Saudi Arabia. Keeping up pressure on Iran also means keeping the Russians and Chinese engaged on the Middle East, rather than dealing with issues in East Asia or Eastern Europe.

The United States backed down so often that the JCPOA cannot be considered an unambiguous victory — but it was also not a defeat for Obama, either. It gives a future president leverage. It allows allies to rally around certain benchmarks and regroup in case of renewed confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program. And it lets all the players — the United States, Europe, Russia, and Iran itself — deal with issues closer to home.

[T]he next president will have opportunities to slow, or threaten to slow, Iranian economic recovery as part of an effort to press for renegotiating elements of the current deal. Iran’s rulers have raised expectations of economic betterment inside the country. Those raised expectations may generate useful political pressure on the regime—and useful fears within the regime of the consequences of not delivering on those high hopes.

The next president can also offset some of the negative diplomatic and regional consequences of the deal. Obama accepted the alienation of Israel and the Gulf States as the price of his Iran initiative. The next president can reconstruct those relationships, abandon the illusion of Iranian partnership, and renew the building of a strategic counterweight to Iran. It’s incredible that Iranian rulers got away with offering Iranian cooperation against ISIS as a concession to the United States. ISIS threatens Iran more than it does the United States; it is Iran that needs U.S. help to protect its clients in Syria and Iraq. The next president can wield the real strategic advantage that the United States has over Iran, rather than yield to the imaginary advantage that Iran asserts over the United States.

Admittedly, these aren’t great options. But they are better than zero options, and they are short of war. Obama likewise always had better options than war or this inadequate deal. He did not adequately avail himself of them. The next president could and should.