'This Is a Good Day': Obama Touts 'Strong Diplomacy' With Iran on Nuke Deal, Prisoners
In a White House statement today, President Obama touted the diplomacy that he said led to the release of five American prisoners in Iran and the implementation of a nuclear deal that he said will ensure that Iran never builds a bomb.
"This is a good day," the president said, "because once again we're seeing what's possible with strong American diplomacy."
He said that decades of non-communication with Iran had not advanced the United States' security interests, and that over the years Iran had gotten closer to having the capability to develop a nuclear weapon.
"But from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries, and as president I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government."
He said that under the nuclear deal, Iran would "not get its hands on a nuclear bomb. The region, the United States and the world will be more secure."
He said that the U.S. and Iran will always have differences, but the nuclear deal has opened a window for the two long-time adversaries to resolve a number of issues, among them the five Americans that Iran was "unjustly" holding captive.
He also said that Iran has "agreed to deepen our coordination...to locate" Robert Levinson, an American private investigator who went missing in Iran in 2007.
"Even as we rejoice in the safe return of others we will never forget about Bob. Each and every day but especially today our hearts are with the Levinson family and we will not rest until their family is whole again."
He said that six Iranian-American and one Iranian civilians serving sentences or awaiting trial in the U.S. were being granted clemency as a "one-time," "humanitarian" gesture.
Watch the full statement above.