Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday praised the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers, a year after it went into effect, claiming it “made the world safer”.
In a statement, Obama claimed the challenges the U.S. faces today would be much worse without the nuclear agreement.
He said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “has achieved significant, concrete results in making the United States and the world a safer place”, according to The Hill.
Obama stressed that Iran’s nuclear program “faces strict limitations and is subject to the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.”
He added that Iran has reduced its uranium stockpile by 98 percent, has removed two-thirds of its centrifuges, has not enriched any uranium at the Fordow facility and has not used advanced centrifuges to enrich.
“In short, Iran is upholding its commitments, demonstrating the success of diplomacy,” he declared.
The agreement, reached between the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the European Union and Iran, placed specific limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing global oil, trade and financial sanctions.
In his statement, Obama stressed that the U.S. remains “steadfast in opposing Iran’s threats against Israel and our Gulf partners and its support for violent proxies in places like Syria and Yemen.”
“There is no question, however, that the challenges we face with Iran would be much worse if Iran were also on the threshold of building a nuclear weapon,” Obama asserted, according to The Hill.
Since the implementation of the deal a year ago, Iran was found several times to have exceeded the amount of heavy water it is permitted to produce under the agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined that those violations were minor.
In September, the IAEA indicated that Iran had kept to the nuclear deal to which it agreed with six world powers, which limits its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons.
The report came after a U.S. think-tank said Iran had been secretly allowed to overstep certain thresholds in order to get the deal through on time.
The White House later dismissed the idea that Iran was secretly allowed to skirt restrictions on its uranium stockpile, with White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisting Iran “has been in compliance with the agreement” since January 16, when the deal was implemented.
Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have repeatedly insisted that the deal makes Israel safer, an assessment not shared by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who opposed the deal.
In August, Obama said the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the West had been successful, and claimed that even Israel acknowledges this fact.
In December, the Secretary of State rejected President-elect Donald Trump’s references to the agreement as a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated”.
“The region is safer, Germany and the United States are safer, Europe is safer, Israel is safer and the world is safer… It depends on all of us to keep this alive,” he said.
In February, Kerry cited comments by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot as proof that the nuclear deal with Iran has improved Israel’s security.