US President Barack Obama.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- One year on since world powers signed a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, the deal is working– and Israel knows it, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday.
Pushing back against criticism of a legal settlement the US reached with Iran in January– a report this week in the Wall Street Journal suggested that a deal to deliver cash toward that settlement coincided conspicuously with Tehran's release of four American hostages– Obama said the real story was that improved relations with Iran were proving fruitful, and that opponents of the deal should own up to it.
The military and intelligence communities in Israel– "the country that was most opposed to the deal," Obama said– had come to the conclusion that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a "game-changer" that had successfully put a lid on Iran's nuclear program and expanded the time it would require for Tehran to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
Opponents of the deal from last year should be challenged by reporters to say, "you know what, we were wrong," Obama added, criticizing "the manufacturing of outrage" over stories tangential to the deal.
While the JCPOA, the formal name for the agreement, was signed in July of 2015, the deal itself was first implemented in January– alongside the release of American political prisoners in Tehran, and the settlement of a decades-old dispute between the US and Iran at a Hague tribunal over a shah-era weapons sale.
"By all accounts, it has worked exactly the way we said it was going to work," Obama said of the nuclear agreement.
The JCPOA put temporary caps on Iran's nuclear infrastructure in exchange for international sanctions relief. Those caps last between ten and fifteen years, depending on the provision, at which point Iran will lawfully be allowed to grow its civilian nuclear infrastructure.