Nightly News   |  November 25, 2013

Obama defends Iran deal as critics weigh in

The Iran nuclear freeze came together after months of secret talks between Iran and the United States – and a decision by both sides to accept vague language to sidestep a big disagreement that could still jeopardize a final deal six months from now. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> the big news this weekend, of course, was the deal between the the u.s., iran and other world powers to slow down iran's nuclear program . skeptics including israel and some in congress are saying iran can't be trusted and that the u.s. should have taken a harder line in the talks. for a closer look at the deal we are joined tonight by andrea mitchell from our d.c. newsroom. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. the iran nuclear freeze came together after months of secret talks between iran and the u.s. and a decision by both sides to accept vague language to sidestep a big disagreement that could jeopardize a final deal six months from now. in san francisco , the president defended the iran deal today from a barrage of critics.

>> tough talk and bluster may be easy politically, but it is not the right thing for our security.

>> reporter: at the same moment his secretary of state returned home from mismarathon deal making. even as members of congress flooded the airwaves claiming the u.s. gave too much and got too little.

>> the ayatollah want that is bomb. as he continues to organize rallies in downtown -- in the capital where people are yelling " death to america ."

>> reporter: in fact he told president ruhani and prime minister zahrif his bottom line was getting the right to enrich uranium for fuel. the u.s. refused.

>> we have not recognized the right to enrich nor will we recognize it. it's not in the agreement.

>> reporter: iran 's foreign minister told ann curry .

>> it doesn't say it in so many words. it says iran will have an enrichment program and has a right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

>> reporter: how did they any finesse it? secret talks held by deputy secretary of state william burns under wendy sherman and jake sullivan. in the end they came up with diplo speak, creative ambiguity. the text t says a final agreement, hopefully in six months, would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with with practical limits. both sides declare victory. critics say it sows the seeds for problems down the road.

>> it is a huge difference. this is not about two people trying to put the best face on a deal as they walk out.

>> reporter: there is a sense of cautious euphoria here. iranians are eager for economic prosperity after years of sky high prices. they are hoping for tangible changes that will affect their buying power and quality of life .

>> did the u.s. win or cave? experts say it's too early to tell. it depends if the temporary freeze leads to a bigger deal removing the chance that iran could build a nuclear weapon . brian?

>> reporter: andrea mitchell in the d.c. newsroom tonight. thanks. we saw

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