President Obama on Iran breakthroughs: 'This is a good day'
President Obama delivered a statement on Iran from the White House on Sunday, one day after Iranian and U.S. officials announced that Iran had complied with the terms of last summer's landmark deal to dismantle its nuclear program, and that the sanctions that have been crippling for the nation's economy would be lifted.
"For decades, our differences with Iran meant our governments never spoke to each other," Obama said. "Ultimately that didn’t advance U.S. interests.”
"From President Roosevelt to Kennedy to Reagan, the U.S. has never been afraid to explore diplomacy with adversaries."
Obama also discussed the release of four Americans imprisoned by Iran, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
"After the nuclear deal was complete, the discussions between our governments escalated," Obama said. "Yesterday, these families finally got the news they were waiting for."
Tens of billions of dollars will soon be available to Iran, as well as access to the international banking system and global markets for the sale of oil and gas for the first time in years, greatly bolstering its ability to rejoin the world economy.
On the one hand, many greeted the new economic opportunities and conveniences that were sure to follow for Iranians and Iranian Americans with excitement and optimism. Yet some said they remain skeptical of the current regime and worried that the lifting of sanctions would give it legitimacy, saying they were concerned about what the billions in unfrozen funds would be spent on.