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Monday, December 5, 2016

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday said he was yet to hear a strong factual argument against a nuclear deal with Iran and criticized rhetoric about the agreement from some leading members of the Republican party.

Obama, speaking in Ethiopia during a tour of African nations, said the majority of the world’s nuclear scientists and non-proliferation experts backed the July 14 accord, indicating it was the best way to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

“There is a reason why 99 percent of the world thinks it’s a good deal — it’s because it’s a good deal,” Obama said during a joint press conference with Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn in the capital Addis Ababa.

“The good news is that I’ve not yet heard a factual argument on other side that holds up to scrutiny,” he added.

Obama said rhetoric on the Iran deal from Mike Huckabee, who is bidding to be the Republican party’s candidate in the next presidential election, was part of a pattern of comments that were ridiculous and sad.

Obama also criticized comments by Republican candidate Donald Trump about senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a war veteran, saying presidential debates deserved better.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives aboard Air Force One at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 26, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst