Hailing the implementation of the landmark Iranian nuclear deal as a “milestone”, US President Barack Obama today said every single path that Iran could have taken to build a nuclear bomb has been cut off.
“Yesterday marked a milestone in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Most of all, we achieved this historic result through diplomacy, without risking another war in the Middle East,” Obama said in a televised statement from the White House.
The US and the EU today lifted biting oil and financial sanctions on Iran and unblocked about USD 100 billion of its frozen assets after UN inspectors concluded that Tehran has complied with a historic deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.
In a side agreement, Iran released five Americans held captive, and Obama agreed to grant clemency to seven Iranians held in the United States.
Obama called his use of the constitutional pardon power “a one time gesture to Iran, given the unique opportunity offered by this moment and the larger circumstances in play.”
“This is a good day,” Obama said adding that “when Americans are freed and returned to their families, that’s something we can all celebrate.”
Under the nuclear deal signed between the world powers and Iran, Tehran will “not get its hands on a nuclear programme”, Obama said.
While hailing the curbs on the Iranian nuclear programme, Obama also struck a note of caution, stating that it does not mean that all differences with Iran had been resolved.
Obama said “profound differences” remain with Iran over its “destabilising activities” and posing of threat to Israel. In this context, the US President also referred to the recent missile tests carried out by Iran.
The Obama administration today announced new penalties on 11 individuals and entities involved in Tehran’s ballistic missile programme.
Obama, in his statement, also referred to Iran’s meddling in countries like Syria and Yemen.
“We will continue to enforce these sanctions vigorously,” Obama said referring to the ballistic missile tests. “We are going to remain vigilant about it.”