— -- President Obama said the U.S. and the P5+1 partners must still engage in "some hard negotiations" with Iran before finalizing a deal on Iran's nuclear program.
“There’s still some hard negotiations to take place but ultimately it’s going to be up to the Iranians to determine whether or not they meet the requirements the international community has set forth,” Obama said today during a joint press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Obama's comments came shortly after a State Department official announced the deadline to secure a deal with Iran would extend beyond today until July 7.
Obama emphasized again that he will not hesitate to walk away from the negotiations if Iran does not agree to the terms reached in a tentative agreement negotiated in Lausanne earlier this year and that the U.S. is demanding more than just a declaration from Iran and a "few inspectors wandering around" every once and a while.
“The framework agreement that was established at Lausanne is one that if implemented effectively and codified properly would in fact achieve my goal which is Iran not obtaining a nuclear weapon” Obama said, adding that there has been talk from Iranian negotiators that they are walking back parts of the commitments reached as part of that tentative agreement.
“I will walk away from the negotiations if in fact it’s a bad deal," the president added. "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, the 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."
Asked about Americans being held in Iran, the president said the United States continues to push with urgency to secure their release.
“This is something that we continue to push hard on irrespective of the nuclear deal,” Obama said. “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’ve 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.”
It’s a message that Obama said he has communicated directly to the family members of those Americans.
“When I talk to the families, we remind them that that is a mission that will continue and has been worked on consistently throughout their captivity,” Obama said.
The news conference came as Rousseff wraps up her visit with Obama during a two-day visit to Washington. The two leaders met in the Oval Office this morning and for a private working dinner at the White House on Monday night.