WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is defending his criticism of Republicans opposed to his Iran nuclear deal.

The president links them to hard-liners in Tehran who chant "Death to America."

Obama says what the two groups have in common is that they're "satisfied with the status quo." He says hardliners are opposed to any cooperation with the international community, and Republicans have an "ideological commitment" to not getting a deal done.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on Obama to retract his comments, calling them offensive.

The president's original remarks came in a speech earlier this week in which he refuted criticism of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. He defended the comments in an interview with CNN that aired Friday morning.