Addressing the historic agreement reached with Iran July 14 in Vienna, President Obama said he will "veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation" of the deal. (

President Obama says a deal reached with Iran on Tuesday will stop the country from developing nuclear weapons.

Most Republicans, and even some Democrats, immediately started bashing it as a weak deal that will actually do the opposite. Other Democrats praised the framework.

Despite the quick reactions, there is a huge amount of nuance here. The 159-page, years-to-finalize agreement combines nuclear physics, delicate Middle East diplomacy and a healthy dose of Washington politics. Which is to say: Only a few people on either side actually know what they're talking about when it comes to the specifics.

The next step is for Congress to review it and give it an up-or-down vote — though Obama says he will veto any "no" vote or congressional attempts to dilute it.

[Can Congress stop the Iran deal?]

In other words, you'll likely be hearing a lot about the Iran deal in the next few weeks. And just in case you would like to argue with your friends and/or family about it, we thought we'd provide a helpful little primer on the arguments for either side.


Argument No. 1: Can Iran be trusted?

If opposed: "This is Iran we're talking about! America is an avowed enemy of the Islamic Republic."

Iran has been tied to secretly supporting groups that the United States labels as terrorists, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and some scholars say they're getting more aggressive in doing this.

If you support: "It's better to have Iran at the table than not."

No one on our side of the negotiating table really trusts Iran. But they're of the belief they can tamp down on Iran's nuclear ambitions by engaging them in a deal. And now's the time: Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, addressed the United Nations in New York in 2013 after coming to power and explicitly called for a "results-oriented," pragmatic deal with the United States, which some international scholars saw as genuine. And if nothing else, he's a marked departure from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Argument No. 2: The deal's effectiveness

If opposed: "Iran can still cheat, inch by inch, right under our nose until all of a sudden they have a bomb."

That's what key Republicans, such as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are saying. And if Iran goes too far, the former head of the CIA argued that global bureaucracy would prohibit the world from getting its act together to do something about it.

If you support: "This deal has some of the toughest restrictions ever placed on Iran's nuclear program."

Under the deal, Iran's estimated timeline to build a bomb has gone from three months to a year. Their centrifuges — spinning things to help enrich uranium — have been cut from 19,000 to 6,000, and their enriched-uranium stockpiles have been cut from 10,000 kilograms to 300. Also, international inspectors will have regular access to Iran's nuclear facilities for the next 25 years.

[How the Iran deal works]

Argument No. 3: Obama's role

If opposed: "Obama is so weak in eyes of Iranians, there's no way he could have gotten a good deal."

That's what presidential candidate and foreign relations expert Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) recently said. And even while talks on this deal were happening in Vienna, Obama was hung in effigy in Iran.

If you support: "This is part of Obama's legacy. There's no way he would have signed off on a bad deal."

The Obama administration has the highest approval rating of any country's leaders in the world among foreign citizens, according to an April 2015 Gallup poll. What's more, Obama talked about the deal in pretty glowing terms Tuesday — suggesting he's quite confident in it.

Argument No. 4: The impact on Israel

If opposed: "Iran is also an avowed enemy of Israel. Do you really think this deal changed leaders' minds?

In the words of Iran hard-liner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Iran is more dangerous than ISIS."

[The Obama-Netanyahu fight over Iran, explained]

If you support: "Israel is safer with this deal in place — and it will reduce the chances of war with Iran."

Israeli security analysts said Tuesday that Israel is less likely to go at it alone and launch aerial strikes in Iran now that a deal's in place. And that could save the region from a potential war.

Argument No. 5: Do sanctions work?

If opposed: "Lifting sanctions will only give Iran more money to secretly pursue a bomb."

Iran has marched steadily toward building a nuclear bomb, according to many measures, such as installing centrifuges at nuclear facilities to ostensibly enrich uranium. Just look at this graph from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Iran Fact File:

If you support: "Sanctions got Iran to the negotiating table, but piling more on would only embolden Iran's hard-liners to push forward with their nuclear aspirations."

When President George W. Bush called Iran part of the "axis of evil" in 2002, Iran stopped talking with him and soon went from zero to 6,000 centrifuges.

Argument No. 6: Whether a deal is better than no deal

If opposed: "The U.S. should have accepted only a total elimination of Iran's nuclear program. Anything less is going to let them build a bomb."

That's what Iran's most ardent opponents, such as Netanyahu, say.

If you support: "Eliminating Iran's nuclear program would have been a non-starter. This is better than letting it go on unabated."

Iran's nuclear program, whether for a bomb or for civilian and energy use, is a great source of pride in the country, and leaders there have said repeatedly that they'll never get rid of it.