Washington, Jan 17: 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.
Obama said this was a good day as engaging directly with Tehran has created "unique opportunities". "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.
"This is a good day, because 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. Ultimately that did not advance America's interests," he said.
Noting that the US has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with adversaries, Obama said he decided that a strong, confident America could advance its national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government. "We've seen the results," Obama said.
In a side agreement, Iran released five Americans held captive, and Obama agreed to grant clemency to seven Iranians held in the United States. "I gave these families my word and a vow that we would do everything in our power to win the release of their loved ones. And we have been tireless," Obama said.
"After the nuclear deal was completed, the discussions between our governments accelerated. Yesterday these families finally got the news they'd been waiting for," he said referring to the US nationals who have been released by Iran. Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination in the search for Robert Levinson, missing for more than eight years, he added.
Obama talked about three major developments that diplomacy had achieved. The first two being the implementation of the nuclear deal and the freeing of the Americans imprisoned in Iran, including Washington Post reporter correspondent Jason Rezaian, and the third was the settlement of a years-long lawsuit between Iran and the US.