Obama is losing the debate over the Iran nuclear deal

President Obama’s characterization of opponents of the deal as a collection of billionaires and war-hungry neocons is misleading, incomplete, and unfair. The reason so many members of Congress have come out against the agreement is their growing sense that it’s a bad deal. The public agrees; polling has repeatedly shown that Americans oppose the pact and believe that it will “make the world less safe.” As a liberal who opposed the Iraq war, I share those doubts.

Rather than preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, as the president repeatedly assured us he would do, it may merely postpone and legitimize this catastrophic outcome. Nor does it provide the transparency or immediacy of inspections such a deal should have.

In a worst-case scenario, international inspectors would need 24 days to gain access to a suspected site. The administration should also release the content of side agreements between IAEA inspectors and the Iranian government regarding the conduct of inspections.

Instead of disparaging opponents of the deal, the Obama administration should stand by its own promise to encourage a substantive discussion on this vital issue. With that in mind, I propose a series of TV and radio debates between supporters and opponents of the agreement.