President Barack Obama praised his nuclear deal with Iran, insisting that his decision to negotiate with the rogue nation was producing great results – specifically citing the release of four Americans from Iranian custody.
Obama cited his decision to negotiate with Iran as “strong” and praised his leadership as “smart, patient and disciplined” with the rest of the world.
“For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other,” he said. “Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests.”
He detailed his argument for the deal, insisting that he was preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
“If Iran tries to cheat — if they try to build a bomb covertly — we will catch them,” he said vowing that the United States had “cut off every single path” for them to create a nuclear weapon.
He revealed that personally lobbied for the Americans release in conversations with Iranian President Rouhani – pointing out that “discussions between our governments accelerated” after the nuclear deal was complete.
“To my fellow Americans, today, we’re united in welcoming home sons and husbands and brothers who, in lonely prison cells, have endured an absolute nightmare,” he said.
But Obama also acknowledged that the United States paid a heavy cost for the safe return of the Americans who were unjustly held by Iran.
Six Iranian–Americans and one Iranian citizen who were either awaiting trials or were already serving prison time were released.
“Their release is a one-time gesture to Iran given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances at play,” Obama said.
Obama welcomed communications between the two countries, arguing that the existence of the Iran nuclear deal allowed him to secure the quick release of American sailors who were detained last week.
“Some folks here in Washington rushed to declare that it was the start of another hostage crisis,” he said. “Instead, we worked directly with the Iranian government and secured the release of our sailors in less than 24 hours.”
He also revealed that the United States would return Iranian financial assets seized in the 1980’s after diplomatic ties were severed between the two countries “including appropriate interest.”
Obama also spoke directly with the Iranian people, welcoming them to have closer ties with the entire world.
“Yours is a great civilization, with a vibrant culture that has so much to contribute to the world — in commerce, and in science and the arts,” he said. “For decades, your government’s threats and actions to destabilize your region have isolated Iran from much of the world. And now our governments are talking with one another.”