President Obama Delivers Statement on Iran

The president delivers rare Sunday address on recent diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Middle East nation.
13:05 | 01/17/16

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Transcript for President Obama Delivers Statement on Iran
Good morning. This is a good bet. Because once again we're saying what's possible. With strong American diplomacy. I served in my State of the Union Address insuring the security of United States and safety of our people. Demands a Smart. Patient and disciplined approach to the world. That includes our diplomacy with the Islamic Republic of Iran. For Beckett. Our differences with the wrong man but our government almost never spoke to each other. 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. But from president Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald right. The United States. Has never been afraid pursuit officers are adversaries. And as president by the side of the strong. Confident. Good advance our national security by engaging directly. With the running government. We've seen the reports. Under the nuclear deal that we are allies and partners reached what Iran last year. A lot will not get its hands on nuclear bomb. The region. United States and the world will be more secure. I've said many times the nuclear deal was never intended to resolve all of our differences with the wrong. But still engaging directly with Iran in government on a sustained basis for the first time in decades has created a unique opportunity to. The window. To try to resolve important issues. Today I can report progress on a number of us. First yesterday marked a milestone in preventing Iran from obtaining and we want. Ron has now fulfill key commitments under the nuclear deal I want to take a moment to explain why this is so important. Over more than a decade Iran had moved ahead with its nuclear program and before the deal it had installed nearly 20000 centrifuges. They could enrich uranium for nuclear bomb. Today Iran has removed two thirds of those machines. Before the deal almost steadily increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium enough for. Up to ten nuclear bombs. Today more than 98% of that stockpile has been shipped out of Iraq meaning run out doesn't have enough material. 41 Bob. Before Iran was nearing completion of a new reactor capable of producing plutonium. For able. Today the court that reactor has been pulled up and filled with concrete. Sort cannot be used to. Before the deal the world had relatively low visibility into Iran's nuclear power. Today international inspectors are on the ground and Iran is being subjected to the most comprehensive. Intrusive inspection regime. Ever negotiated to monitor nuclear program. Inspectors will monitor Iran's keep your facility's 24 hour it 365. Days a year. For decades to calm inspectors will have access to Iran's entire U there's watching. In other words if it plus plus to chief. They try to build a bomb Birtley we will catch them. So the bottom line is this whereas Iraq with steadily expanding its nuclear program. We've now cut off every single Enron reviews to build a bomb. Resident would have taken on two to three months to break we're not true rushed well. We've outstanding effort got time to leave. And with the world on president inspections and access to -- program won't know if I'm ever tries to plea. Now that runs actions have been verified. It can begin to receive relief from certain nuclear sanctions. And gain access. To its own money that it controls. Perhaps most important ball we've achieved this is for progress through diplomacy. Without resorting to an offer families. Also point out that by working with the wrong on this nuclear deal. We were better. Able to address other issues. Marcellus sailors in the Persian gulf accidentally strayed into Iran and waters that could have sparked major national once. Some folks here in Washington rushed to declared that it was the start of another hostage crisis. Instead we've worked directly with Iran in government and secure the release were sailors and less than 24 hours. This brings me to it such a major development. Several Americans unjustly detained by Iran. Are finally coming home. In some cases these Americans faced years of continued detention. Met with some of their famous. I've seen aren't. Eight silence. I gave these families might work. And Adam Powell that we would do everything in our power to win the release of their loved ones and we have been tireless. On the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations are diplomats. At the highest level including Senator Kerry. Used every meeting to push Iran to release armor it's. I did so myself my conversation with president Ron. After the nuclear deal was completed the discussions. Between our governments itself. Yesterday these violent families finally got the news of David where it. This Reza. Is coming home. Courageous journalist for the Washington Post wrote about the daily lives and hopes to be robbing people he's been held for your hat. The embodies the brave spirit gives. Like to freedom of press. Jason has already been reunited with his wife and mall. Pastor cited. A baby is coming off. Call 43 and a half years is unyielding faith has inspired people around world in the global fight to uphold freedom of religion. Now pastor Upton will return to his church and community not. I'm here that money is coming off a former sergeant in the Marine Corps he's been helped perform a half years. Today's parents and sisters. Are giving thanks and mission. Two other Americans unjustly detained by Iran of also it's. Disrupt oil. Most rotting wood siding. And Mathieu. Through victory and a run in. Who was Enron as a student. Their cases were largely unknown to the world but when American free news reunited with their families that's something we all salt. I want to thank my national security. Especially secretary Kerry. Susan Rice my national security advisor Brett Mcguirk. Apple paints. And roads. Our whole team worked tirelessly. To bring our Americans home. To get this work done. And I want to thank the Swiss government which represents our interest for their critical assistance. Meanwhile Iran has agreed to deepen our coordination as we work to locate. Loved. Missing from wrong were they years. Even as we rejoice and secretary of others we will never forget about Bob. Each and every day especially efforts would let them not rest until their Pham. In a reciprocal humanitarian gesture six a lot of Americans and one run in serving. Sentences or awaiting trial me states are being grant clemency. These individuals were not charged with terrorism any violent offenses. Are civilians and the releases a one time gesture to Iran. Given the opera unique opportunity offered by this moment larger circumstances flight. And it reflects our willingness to engage with Iran to advance our mutual interest even as we ensure. The national security the United States. So. Nuclear deal. Implement. American families reunite. Fur piece of this. Work that we got them this weekend involved the United States and Iran was often a financial dispute dating back more than three decades. Since 1981. After our nation's sever diplomatic relations we've worked through the international tribunal. To resolve various claims between our countries. United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Ronnie and government claim against the United States government. On will be returned its own funds including appropriate interest but much less than the amount onslaught. For the United States the settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran's it was no benefit the United States and right in this. Your nuclear deal done. Prisoners released the time was right it was all that this dispute as well. Of course. Even as we implement the nuclear deal and welcome Americans all. We recognize that there remains profound differences between the United States and Iraq. We remained steadfast in opposing Iran's destabilizing behavior off. Including its threats against Israel and our gulf partners. And its support for violent proxies in places like Syria and Yemen. We sought sanctions on Iran for its violations of human rights for support terrorists. And for its ballistic missile program and we will continue to enforce the sanctions vigorously. Iran's recent missile test for example was a violation of its international obligations. And as a result the United States is imposing sanctions on individuals and companies working to advance Iran's ballistic missile program. And we are gonna remain vigilant about. When I don't waver in the defense or security or that of our allies and partners. I do. Want a once again speak directly into the run and people. Yours is a great civilization without a vibrant culture that has so much to contribute to the world. And commerce science and arts. For decades your government's threats and actions destabilizing your region have isolated rob for much of the world. And our governments are talking. Woman up. Following the nuclear deal. You especially young Moroccans have the opportunity to begin building new ties with the we have a rare chance to pursue a new path. A different better future that delivers progress for both our peoples and the wider and that's the opportunity before the run in people. You take advantage of that. And my fellow Americans. Today were united in welcoming home sons and husbands Brothers. When lonely prison cells and endured an absolute nightmare. They never gave it and they never gave up. At long last they can stand tall and breathe deep. Fresher free. As a nation we face real challenges. Around the world and here at all. Many of them will not be resolved quickly or easily. But today's progress. Americans coming home. And Iran that has rolled back its nuclear program and accept an unprecedented monitoring of that program. These things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and what was. With courage and resolve and patience. America can do and has some big things. When we work together. We believe this world's. Make us safer more secure virtual. Reverential. For generations to come. I want to thank once again sector carried our entire national security team. Led by its vice. Grateful. For all the assistance that we see from our allies and partners. And I'm and hope. That this signals. The opportunity at least war. Iran's. Work more cooperatively with nations around world to advance. Their interests. And the interest. People who. Are looking for peace and security. For their things. Thank you so much. Less you joblessness this summer.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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