President Obama is praising Russian President Vladimir Putin for assisting the United States in the Iranian nuclear talks.
“Russia was a help on this. I’ll be honest with you. I was not sure given the strong differences we are having with Russia right now around Ukraine, whether this would sustain itself. Putin and the Russian government compartmentalized on this in a way that surprised me,” Obama said in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Obama went so far to say that the countries “would have not achieved this agreement” if not for Russia’s assistance in completing what he described as a “strong deal.”
Obama also indicated that Putin was calling him again, describing a conversation they had about Syria.
“I was encouraged by the fact that Mr. Putin called me a couple of weeks ago and initiated the call to talk about Syria,” he said, signaling optimism that Syrian President Bashar Assad was “losing a grip” on his country.
“[T]he prospects for a [Sunni jihadist] takeover or rout of the Syrian regime is not imminent but becomes a greater and greater threat by the day,” he said. “That offers us an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them.”