Earnest: Iran Capturing 10 American Sailors Is Why Obama Pursued Nuke Deal [VIDEO]

Steve Guest Media Reporter
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While acknowledging that the Iranians have 10 American sailors in custody, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “That precisely is why the president made preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon a top national security priority.”

Appearing on CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, the Obama spokesman said, “We’ve received assurances from the Iranians both our sailors are safe, that they’re being sort of afforded sort of the proper courtesy that you’d expect. And we’ve also most importantly received assurances they will be allowed to continue their journey promptly.” (RELATED: Obama To Announce New Sanctions On Iran’s Missile Program)

Tapper asked Earnest, “What do you say to people who say, Iran fired upon, not on, didn’t hit, but fired a warning shot of sorts, towards an American ship in the last couple of weeks, they test fired, I believe a ballistic missile in the last few weeks, and yet in a few days they’re scheduled to have the relief of all of those sanctions. The basic question being, this does not seem look a country that is ready to be welcomed back into the community of nations.” (RELATED: Iranians Menace Gigantic US Carrier With Tiny Rocket)

“That’s right, Jake,” Earnest said. “And certainly the United States has been concerned with the kind of provocative destabilizing actions that have been a hallmark of Iranian behavior over the last several decades, in fact. And that’s why, A, that is why the United States and this president made it a priority to organize the international community to reach an agreement with Iran that will prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“This agreement is actually the best way for us to ensure that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon. And based on their commitment to ship 98 percent of their uranium stockpile out of the country, which they followed through over the holidays, Iran right now actually doesn’t even have the nuclear material necessary to build one nuclear weapon.”

“We all did that without a single American shot being fired,” Earnest bragged. “So that’s indication that we’re making progress in countering the threat posed by Iran.” (RELATED: Iran Brags About New Underground ‘Missile City’)

“I hear you but the ten American sailors in their custody right now, Josh. I mean, I think there are a lot of Americans watching this thinking why are we about to give them sanction relief? They have ten Americans in wherever they have them. In a boat, in a cell, whatever,” Tapper said.

“Well, because these were sanctions imposed on Iran over their nuclear program,” Earnest argued. “And as soon as Iran takes the steps that they’ve committed to take and those steps can be verified by international nuclear experts then we’ll know that Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”

“That said, Jake, we’re going to continue to have sanctions in place against Iran because of their support for terrorism, we’re going to have sanctions in place against Iran because of their continued development of their ballistic missile program,” Earnest claimed.

“You know, and we have been pretty clear about the fact Iran is going to be subject to additional sanctions because of the tests they conducted at the end of last year. So we continue to be concerned about this situation [Iran capturing ten American sailors]. That precisely is why the president made preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon a top national security priority, and we’re making progress in accomplishing that goal.”

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