President Barack Obama defended the recently announced landmark nuclear deal with Iran in an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, his first interview following the deal.
The President said the agreement “was the most definitive path by which Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”
He reiterated that the United States was keeping its guard up and was not losing sight of Iran’s past behavior.
“This whole system that we built is not based on trust, it’s based on a verifiable mechanism whereby every pathway that they have is shut off,” Obama said.
The President also indicated that discussions on Iran may have softened relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the United States.
“Putin and the Russian government compartmentalized on this in a way that surprised me,” Obama told columnist Tom Friedman of the Iran negotiations.
Russia-U.S relations have grown increasingly tense over violence in Ukraine.
“We would not have achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us and the other P5 + 1 members in insisting on a strong deal,” Obama said.
The President also said Putin had called him several weeks ago to discuss the state of affairs in Syria. Obama said he didn’t expect to see any dramatic overnight changes, but it was a step in the right direction.
“Part of our goal here is to show that diplomacy can work. It doesn’t work perfectly – it doesn’t give us everything that we want,” the President said. “We can’t control every single event, but what we can do is shape events so that it’s more likely that problems get solved, rather than less likely and that’s the opportunity we have now.”