President Barack Obama on Sunday touted the implementation of a completed nuclear agreement with Iran and the return of five American prisoners that the country was holding — but he cautioned that every disagreement with Iran wasn’t solved and even noted new sanctions being put in place.
“This is a good day,” Obama said Sunday morning, about 24 hours after it was announced that Americans held in Iran — some for years — would be returned to their families.
Saturday also brought “implementation day,” after the United Nations nuclear agency declared Tehran had fulfilled its commitment to scale back its nuclear program.
“Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb,” Obama said. “The region, U.S. and world will be more secure.”
Obama reiterated what Secretary of State John Kerry had said Saturday: Iran’s current uranium stockpile is 2 percent of what it was before the agreement, and the country has removed two-thirds of its centrifuges.
Iran “does not have enough material for even one bomb,” Obama said. “We will catch them if they try to cheat,” he added.
Obama said the process of securing deal strengthened what was basically a non-existent relationship between America and Iran — even allowing a pathway to work with the Iranian government to release 10 sailors who drifted into Iranian waters last week.
But Obama said “there remain profound differences between the U.S. and Iran,” including the country’s violations of human rights and its ballistic missile program.
The United States actually imposed new sanctions Sunday against 11 individuals and entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
The missile program “poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it will continue to be subject to international sanctions,” said Adam J. Szubin, the Department of the Treasury’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
Obama still signaled an optimistic outlook for Iran’s future, calling on “young Iranians” to take advantage of the changing dynamic between the U.S. and Iranian governments.
“Yours is a great culture that has so much to contribute to the rest of the world,” Obama said. “I’m hopeful that this signals opportunity for Iran to work more cooperatively with nations around the world to advance their interests and for people looking for peace and security for their families.”
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com