Obama: Americans Imprisoned in Iran ‘Top Priority,’ But We’ll Still Make Deal

President Obama said that Americans imprisoned in Iran are “a top priority,” there can still be a nuclear deal with the country without progress on that front during a press conference on Tuesday.

Obama, in response to a question about Americans who are being held captive by the Iranian regime, said, “this is something that we continue to push hard on irrespective of the nuclear deal. It’s a top priority for us to make sure that our people are treated fairly. And on the face of it, in the case of these individuals who have been held, they have not been, and they are not being afforded the basic due process and legal rights that we afford visitors to our country. So, we’re deeply concerned about it. We spend a lot of time pushing on it and we will continue to do so. And there’s no lessening of the sense of urgency.”

Obama later stated, “With respect to the larger issue of whether I trust the Iranian regime, as I’ve said before, there are deep-seated disagreements and divisions between the United States and Iran, and those aren’t going to go away overnight. The goal of the nuclear negotiations is not to rely on trust, but to set up a verifiable mechanism where we are cutting off the pathways for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.” And that if Iran does not abide by the framework achieved in Lausanne, “that’s going to be a problem, because I’ve said from the start, I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal. If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime, verification regime is inadequate, then we’re not going to get a deal. And we’ve been very clear to the Iranian government about that.”

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