Breaking Down The Iran Nuclear Deal: Here's What You Need To Know

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It's been a busy week in Washington, between the fight for women's healthcare and ramping up to the first GOP debate. In the midst of it all, discussions about the Obama administration's Iran Nuclear Deal have continued to unfold. Wednesday, the president gave a speech addressing critics of the controversial agreement.

"The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war," he said. "Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.” He also asked the audience of 200 at American University how this nation can justify going to war without first taking a stab at a diplomatic deal.

It's a good question. There is no simple answer. The basic facts of the deal are these: The U.S. wants to curb Iran's access to uranium and plutonium — decreasing the country's supply by 98% over time — so that eventually, it would take an entire year to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon. In return, the U.S. would make its own concessions, including sanctions relief.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been slow to publicly warm to any kind of deal with Iran, though the right has been especially incensed. "This deal paves the way to Iran getting the bomb and gives $150 [billion] to the mullahs. That's not leadership," Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter yesterday. Republicans, led by Rep. Ed Royce, went so far as to introduce a disapproval resolution — which many high-profile members of his party have hopped on board.

Democrats are coming around. Today, Kirsten Gillibrand announced her support and clarified her reasoning in a lengthy post on Medium. Since 2010, the New York senator has pushed for sanctions against Iran and checks on its spiraling nuclear program. "The Iranian regime with a nuclear weapon posed — then and now — an existential threat to the State of Israel and dangerously threatens our own national security interests," she wrote. "Bottom line: Iran possessing a nuclear weapon would be a game-changing event that cannot and will not be allowed. That was true then — and it remains true today."

The president has admitted that that an Iran Nuclear Deal has the potential to monetarily benefit terrorist groups. He has admitted that it's an imperfect plan. But what he has also said — and what other politicians who favor the deal, including Gillibrand, have acknowledged — is that, right now, it's the best we have.

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