"With respect to Pakistan, there was never the kinds of inspection regimes and international sanctions and UN resolutions that were in place," Obama said in response to a question at the 10th annual Saban Forum meeting. (Agencies)
Obama said that by the time the US got an agreement with North Korea, Pyongyang already had acquired a nuclear weapon.
"We have been able to craft an international effort and verification mechanism around the Iran nuclear programme that is unprecedented and unique. That doesn't mean it's easy. And that's why we have to take it seriously," said Obama when asked about the failure of the United States in the past to prevent countries like Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons.
"With the best intentions and all efforts, (the former US) President (Ronald) Reagan vowed that Pakistan would not go nuclear. Didn't happen. With the best intentions and all efforts, President Clinton vowed that North Korea won't go nuclear. Why is this nuclear deal different than any other nuclear deal?" the President was asked.
Obama acknowledged that achieving the goals could be tough to achieve.
"It's important for everybody to understand this is hard. Because the technology of the nuclear cycle, you can get off the Internet; the knowledge of creating a nuclear weapons is already out there. And Iran is a large country and it is a relatively wealthy country, and so we have to take seriously the possibility that they are going to try to get a nuclear weapon. That’s what this whole exercise is about," he argued.
"I think one of the things that I've repeatedly said when people ask, why should we try to negotiate with them, we can't trust them, we're being naive, what I try to describe to them is not the choice between this deal and the ideal, but the choice between this deal and other alternatives," he said.
"If I had an option, if we could create an option in which Iran eliminated every single nut and bolt of their nuclear programme, and foreswore the possibility of ever having a nuclear programme, and, for that matter, got rid of all its military capabilities, I would take it," he said.
Iran and P5+1 last month agreed on a historic deal that freezes key parts of Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.
"With respect to Pakistan, there was never the kinds of inspection regimes and international sanctions and UN resolutions that were in place," Obama said in response to a question at the 10th annual Saban Forum meeting.