WASHINGTON - President Obama talked tough about the Iran nuclear deal Wednesday, but his anger and ire were aimed at critics here at home, not its untrustworthy leaders in Tehran.
His bitterly partisan, caustic speech here at American University was characterized by the news media for his sharp, political attack on his opponents in Congress.
"Walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal -- for Iran," Obama said.
That's not how its many critics here at home see this agreement's many flaws.
It leaves much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure facilities in place, permits Tehran to rebuild its program in ten or so years, and removes all of the economic sanctions that will free up funds to finance terrorist wars throughout the Middle East.
Obama talked about the benefits of diplomacy, but there was nothing diplomatic about his fierce political attacks on his adversaries in Congress.
"It's those [Iranian] hard-liners chanting 'Death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican caucus," Obama said.
Is this what Obama considers diplomacy to work out legislative differences on Capitol Hill? No wonder he can't get his agenda approved by Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was outraged by the president's bare-fisted attacks, demanding that he "retract his bizarre and preposterous comments."
Democrats in the House and Senate who have come out against the deal would be "insulted" by his intemperate remarks, McConnell said.
Iran is the world's largest and most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.
It "continues to…work with an array of violent substate groups that use terrorism among other violent tactics," Daniel Byman, director of research and a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, told Congress earlier this year.
"Iran's regime sees itself as a regional and even a world power, and working with terrorists is a way for Iran to influence events far from its borders," Byman said.
Its "support for Lebanese Hizballah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Hamas make Iran a player in the Israeli-Palestinian and Israel-Arab disputes, and Iran's backing of Houthis in Yemen give it influence on Saudi Arabia's southern border," he said.
Iran has ambitious global goals as a military power, one that it has not abandoned and never will.
"At the creation of the Islamic Republic, Iran's leaders made no secret of their desire to extend Iran's revolution throughout the Muslim world," Byman testified.
Iran's first Supreme Leader and founding ideologue, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared that Iran "should try hard to export our revolution to the world."
It continues to finance a wide range of terrorist groups and has allied its country "at times" with al-Qaeda and the Taliban – the kind of people who engage in beheadings and burning their enemies alive.
And Obama thinks that we can trust Iran to keep its word to dismantle their nuclear-development facilities?
This is a dangerous government that not only threatens its neighbors, but has bankrolled terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Remember the 1996 Iranian terrorist strike against the U.S. in Khobar Towers that killed 19 Americans? And the Iranian plot to bomb a Washington restaurant frequented by the Saudi ambassador in 2011?
That plot would have likely killed many Americans, but was disrupted in time by U.S. intelligence agents.
This is the terrorist adversary Obama says we must trust and that Israel must trust, too.
"I have repeatedly challenged anyone opposed to this deal to put forward a better, plausible alternative," Obama said. "I have yet to hear one. What I've heard instead are the same types of arguments that we heard in the run-up to the Iraq war.
This is a duplicitous argument coming from Obama who ran for reelection by claiming "al-Qaeda is now on the run," and that their forces have been "decimated."
In fact, they've metastasized into far more lethal armies like Islamic State, ISIS and other terrorist forces across the Middle East while Obama was withdrawing from the region as fast as he could.
Only to return later with bombers and ground support into a much wider field of war. This week, the U.S. has begun conducting airstrikes over Syria from bases in southern Turkey.
But there are very plausible alternatives to the deadly deal Secretary of State John Kerry worked out that now endangers Israel and its neighbors.
Tighten economic sanctions to the point where Iran is forced to make major concessions, like dismantling their facilities and allowing our inspectors at anytime to inspect their labs without advanced notice, as the deal does not now allow.
If Congress sends him a vote of disapproval, Obama says he will veto the bill.
But he will need 146 House Democrats or 34 in the Senate to sustain a veto. That may be difficult to achieve.
Congress will vote before the September 17 deadline when it returns from its August recess.
The question lawmakers will have to ask themselves before voting is simply this: Could I vote for this deal if I lived in Israel?