President Barack Obama has said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin helped the United States to conclude the prolonged nuclear negotiations with Iran despite tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“Russia was a help on this. I’ll be honest with you. I was not sure given the strong differences we are having with Russia right now around Ukraine, whether this would sustain itself,” the US president said during an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday.
“Putin and the Russian government compartmentalized on this in a way that surprised me, and we would have not achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us and the other P5-Plus members in insisting on a strong deal,” he added.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday.
The JCPOA will put limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
According to the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran will be recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program.
Obama repeatedly defended the historic agreement during his interview and thanked the US negotiating team for their efforts.
He also admired Iran as a “great civilization” and said the agreement is “not just good for us but good for the world.”
The US commander-in-chief dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of conclusion of the talks.
“Many of the critics would prefer that they [Iranians] don’t even have any nuclear capacity. But really, what that involves is eliminating the presence of knowledge inside of Iran,” he said.
“Nuclear technology is not that complicated today, and so the notion that the yardstick for success was now whether they ever had the capacity possibly to obtain nuclear weapons — that can’t be the yardstick,” Obama said.
The Israeli prime minister described the agreement as a “historic mistake.”
Netanyahu said Iran was right for saying that with the agreement “the international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear program.”
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves,” he calimed.