Just before he took off for a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, President Barack Obama sat down with Mic News to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran. During the interview, Obama said be believed hobbling Iran’s economy with sanctions was the only way to bring them to the negotiating table.
Mic’s editor-in-chief, Jake Horowitz, asked Obama a question posed by Ghazal Hakami, a 22-year-old woman who lives in Iran. Hakami was critical of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. “…We, the Iranian people, paid a high price because you put very harsh sanctions on us. Don't you think you had other ways to make this deal without hurting Iranian people so much?,” she asked in a pre-recorded video played for the president.
Obama said there simply wasn’t a better option and explained that when he initially came into office he sent word to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that the United States sought a nuclear agreement. No one responded but U.S. officials then found a secret uranium-enrichment facility at Fordo, prompting the economic sanctions, The Hill reported.
“In that circumstance, what we had to do was to more severely enforce sanctions so that Iran had greater incentive to come to the table and negotiate,” Obama said.
Obama added that he hopes the nuclear deal will actually help Iranians by eliminating the country’s nuclear stockpiles.