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    Obama Uses Bully Pulpit to Prevent GOP From Obstructing Iran Nuclear Deal

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    US President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to prevent the Republican-controlled Congress from undermining a potential nuclear agreement with Iran, foreign affairs experts told Sputnik. The President's speech was also intended to send a message to the Iranian leadership and to emphasize his veto powers.

    WASHINGTON, January 21 (Sputnik) – US President Barack Obama, reaching a broader audience during his annual State of the Union address, has used the opportunity to prevent the Republican-controlled Congress from undermining a potential nuclear agreement with Iran, international affairs experts told Sputnik.

    "President Obama put it out there to the American public that there is the possibility of a deal with Iran and the Republican Congress could undermine it and prevent the president from doing his job," University of Texas professor of global affairs Jeremi Suri, told Sputnik.

    During the speech Tuesday, Obama again warned Congress against approving new sanctions against Iran, which he said would ruin any chance of securing an agreement to contain Tehran's nuclear ambitions. The president has vowed to veto such sanctions should such a proposal fall on his desk.

    However, although Obama has used similar language in the past, Suri said that repeating it during the State of the Union address in front of a national audience gave his message more force. And by doing so, Suri argued, Obama is attempting to place the onus, in the eyes of the American public, on Republicans to justify their interference with what the president considers his "legitimate presidential power to negotiate an agreement."

    Professor of statecraft and diplomacy at Syracuse University, Michael Schneider, told Sputnik on Tuesday that Obama used the national stage on Tuesday to deliver a stern public message against the passing of new sanctions and interfering in negotiations with Iran.

    "Obama sent a very direct and strong warning to the Congress to not take any steps that would give anyone in Iran the pretext for backing away from a nuclear deal," Schneider said.

    Obama's speech, according to Schneider, was also likely crafted to send a message to international mediators and the Iranian leadership, and to emphasize the US president's veto powers.

    The P5+1 group of six world powers, including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Germany, initiated diplomatic efforts back in 2006 to ensure Iran's nuclear program was for civilian applications. Since then, the group has held several meetings with Iran, but has failed to reach a long-term deal.

    The round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, held in November in Vienna, Switzerland in late 2014, did not produce a deal and the sides agreed to continue negotiations until July 2015.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    State of the Union speech, US Congress, Iran, United States, Vienna
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