In a speech at American University in Washington, the president said that the Iran deal followed in the tradition of the decades of diplomacy that ended the Cold War without a single shot fired.
And he said that many of the critics of the deal are the same people who exaggerated intelligence and misled the country about the costs of the war in Iraq.
"I raise this history because now more than ever we need clear thinking in our foreign policy," Obama said.
The president dismissed the arguments of "armchair nuclear scientists" opposed to the deal, which aims to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon in exchange for the scaling back of economic sanctions.
"This deal is not just the best choice among alternatives," he said. "This is the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated."
Some critics in Congress, which will vote on the deal next month, have said that the administration was hoodwinked. But Obama said that rejecting the deal would accelerate, not slow, Iran's path to a nuclear bomb.
"So, in that sense, the critics are right," he said. "Walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal — for Iran."
— Jesse Lee (@jesseclee44) August 5, 2015
Obama: Iran Hardliners 'Making Common Cause With the Republican Caucus' http://t.co/lmywoZe5bn
— The Weekly Standard (@weeklystandard) August 5, 2015
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 5, 2015
Right. Let somebody else clean up your mess... Obama: "I've made it clear, Iran will not get a weapon on my watch" (which ends in 18 months)
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 5, 2015
Fox brings on Stephen Hayes to comment on Obama's Iran speech. He wrote a whole book falsely linking Osama to Saddam. pic.twitter.com/ITGxRuPasm↓ Story continues below ↓
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 5, 2015
— Josh Dorner (@JoshDorner) August 5, 2015