A slew of Democratic lawmakers endorsed the tentative deal the United States and its international partners reached on Thursday to contain Iran’s nuclear program. But support for the agreement also came from an unusual source: Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
Appearing on the conservative network just minutes after President Barack Obama held a news conference in the White House Rose Garden laying out the broad outlines for how the United States hopes to limit Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, O’Reilly — a harsh critic of Obama’s foreign policy — argued that conservatives should give diplomacy a chance.
“You don’t want a war with Iran,” he explained. “You don’t want to bomb that country because the unintended consequences will set the world aflame. So if you can get something that’s decent, you give it a shot. I think that’s a legitimate point,” O’Reilly said to a surprised Gretchen Carlson, host of the network’s daytime show, The Real Story.
O’Reilly also warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against immediately rejecting the compromise, counseling the long-time opponent of talks to wait and see “specifically what the Iranians are going to agree to.”
Under the terms of the plan, Iran will suspend over two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and dilute or ship overseas its enriched uranium stocks. Iran has agreed to slash its centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,104 and not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent or build new facilities for enrichment for 15 years. It will, however, be able to continue “limited” research and development with advanced centrifuges.
Once inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirm that Iran has met its obligations, the United States, and the international community, will lift economic sanctions against the country. But those sanctions would “snap back into place” should Iran fail to meet its obligations, according to a fact sheet distributed by the White House. A final agreement — including all technical deals — is expected to be reached by June 30th. Experts estimate that while Iran will currently need 2 to 3 months to obtain enough fissile material to produce one nuclear weapon, under this agreement, that so-called “breakout timeline” will grow to at least one year for 10 years.
Speaking to reporters, Obama said that should Iran ultimately sign off on the final deal, “this framework would cut off every pathway Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.” He stressed that Iran will face “more inspections than any other country in the world” and continue to live under U.S.-imposed sanctions for sponsoring terrorism, violating human rights, and threatening the state of Israel.
Not everyone on Fox was as supportive of the agreement, however. Shortly after the deal was announced Carlson worried that the negotiations were “legitimizing Iran,” while contributor KT McFarland proclaimed, “we’ve just given up everything!”