Obama States ‘This Is A Good Day’ After Iran Releases American Prisoners
Obama said confidently on Sunday that “this is a good day” following the nuclear agreement he struck with Iran that will return five American prisoners to the United States. Some of these prisoners have been held there for years.
NBC reports that Iran significantly scaled back its nuclear capabilities.
“We have achieved a critical and auspicious milestone,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday. “Iran has undertaken significant steps that many — and I do mean many — people doubted would ever come to pass.”
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 18, 2016
Harsh sanctions put on Iran from the United Nations, United States, and the European Union were lifted on Saturday, which, while implemented, severely crippled Iran’s economy, leaving 80 million people cut off from the global financial system.
“Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb,” Obama said. “The region, U.S. and world will be more secure.”
“Once again we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy. For decades our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other,” Obama lamented.
“Ultimately that did not advance America’s interests. Over the years Iran moved closer and closer to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon. The United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries. As President I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government.”
Obama stated that Iran’s uranium stockpile is 2 percent of what it was before the sanctions were place, and Iran has also removed two-thirds of its centrifuges.
“Iran does not have enough material for even one bomb,” Obama said. “We will catch them if they try to cheat.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 18, 2016
The Huffington Post reports that the prisoner exchange part of the deal was secretly more than a year in the making. A part of the deal involved the U.S. dropping charges on a few Iranians who were held in the country because of sanctions violations.
The President didn’t want to speak about it until he was certain that the American citizens were on a plane home.
Obama met with the families of the prisoners, stating, “In some cases these Americans faced years of continued detention, and I met with some of their families. I’ve seen their anguish. How they ache for their sons and husbands. I gave these families my word, I made a vow, that we would do everything in our power to release their loved ones, and we have been tireless.”
— White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) January 17, 2016
Obama took a moment to detail the progress Iran has made in recent years.
“They report progress on a number of fronts. First, yesterday marked a milestone in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has now fulfilled key commitments under the nuclear deal.”
Our President is more confident than ever that “this is a good day,” for Iran and other countries.
Detailing his confidence in the state of the world and Iran, he said “Following the nuclear deal, you—especially young Iranians—have the opportunity to begin building new ties with the world. We have a rare chance to pursue a new path—a different, better future that delivers progress for both our people’s and the wider world. That’s the opportunity before the Iranian people. We need to take advantage of that.”
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]