Last week, five Americans including a Washington Post reporter were released from Iranian prison and President Barack Obama hailed the restoration of their freedom as proof “smart, patient and disciplined” works.
“The United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries,” Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17.
“We have a rare chance to pursue a new path — a different, better future that delivers progress for both our people and the wider world,” he said. “That’s the opportunity for the Iranian people. We need to take advantage of that.”
The United States and Iran have been at odds for years, antagonizing each other economically and diplomatically, but Obama seemed optimistic about the future, the Washington Post reported. He also credited the improved relationship between the two countries for the swift release of American sailors who accidentally drifted into Iranian waters last week.
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Although the Iran Nuclear Deal was negotiated separately from the prisoner exchange, U.S. officials said the conclusion of the accords helped bring the issue of the prisoners’ freedom to the forefront, the Associated Press reported via Fox News.
In exchange for the five Americans, the U.S. returned seven Iranians who had been imprisoned or charged for violating sanctions.