President Obama bristled at a reporter’s question Wednesday about why he didn’t insist on Iran releasing three American prisoners as part of the nuclear deal with Tehran.
Asked why he was “content” to accept the deal without resolving the hostage issue, Mr. Obama told the reporter, Major Garrett of CBS, “That’s nonsense. You should know better. I’ve met with the families of some of those folks. I’m not content.”
He said if the U.S. had walked away from the negotiations, the administration would still be trying to gain the prisoners’ release.
“We are working every single day to try to get them out,” Mr. Obama said.
Christian missionary Saeed Abedini, journalist Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati are being held by Iran.
The president said linking the prisoners’ freedom to the nuclear negotiations could create an incentive for Iran to use American prisoners in the future as leverage for concessions.
Just last year, Mr. Obama came under heavy criticism for agreeing to swap five Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has since been charged with desertion.
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