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Obama Defends Iran Deal In Final "Daily Show" Appearance

The president told Jon Stewart the U.S. had to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon using diplomacy, "or potentially we have a military option."

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President Obama defended his nuclear deal with Iran Tuesday night during his final appearance on The Daily Show.

Comedian Jon Stewart turned to Iran early in the show, asking the president whose side the U.S. is really on in the Middle East. Obama said the U.S. is fighting the terror group ISIS, then added of Iran, "Look, this is an adversary."

"As has been said frequently, you don't make peace with your friends," Obama added, referring to the deal signed with Iran last week. The agreement is designed to prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons.

The president appeared on the show in advance of Stewart's final episode as host, which is scheduled for Aug. 6.

"I'm issuing a new executive order, that Jon Stewart cannot leave the show," Obama joked. "It's being challenged in the courts."

Later, Obama seemed to suggest that if the deal with Iran hadn't been signed it could have led to war, stating the U.S. could use diplomacy, "or potentially we have a military option."

Obama also compared the deal to the U.S. relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but said the difference now is that the U.S. is "not giving anything up" or having to disarm.

The president joked that his critics had only vague ideas for improvement, such as "if you'd brought Dick Cheney to the negotiations, everything would be fine."

Stewart also asked Obama about his often tempestuous relationship with the media and accusations that the White House has been insufficiently transparent.

The Obama administration has taken heat from both sides of the spectrum for its relationship with journalists, and midway through Tuesday night's show Stewart asked the president if he felt he had "dealt appropriately with the media."

Obama conceded that the White House may have been too "slow" in figuring out ways to communicate, but said "there's a learning process that's taking place."

"Overall I think that the problem with our interaction with media is probably overstated," he argued, instead blaming the problems on the "balkanization" and "splintering" of the media environment.

Watch an extended interview segment from The Daily Show interview with President Obama:

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

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