W.H.’s Earnest: ‘We’re Making Progress in Countering the Threat Posed by Iran’

‘We have been clear about the fact Iran is subject to additional sanctions because of the tests they conducted at the end of last year’

RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

TAPPER: "We booked you to talk about the State of the Union, and I will get to that because I know that you want to talk about that. But one more question, what do you say to people who say, Iran fired upon, not on, didn't hit, but fired a warning shot of sorts, towards an American ship in the last couple of weeks. They test fired I believe a ballistic missile. And yet in a few days they're scheduled to have the relief of all of those sanctions, basic question being, this does not seem look a country that is ready to be welcome back into the community of nations.

EARNEST: “That's right, Jake. Certainly the United States has been concerned with the kind of provocative destabilizing actions that have been a hallmark of Iranian behavior over the last several decades, in fact. And that's why, a, that is why the United States and this president made it a priority to organize the international community to reach an agreement with Iran that will prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is best way to ensure that Iran will not on tan a nuclear weapon. Based on their commitment to ship 98 percent of the uranium stockpile out of the country, Iran doesn't even have the nuclear material necessary to build one nuclear weapon we all did that without a single American shot being fired. So that's indication we're making progress in countering the threat posed by Iran.”

TAPPER: “I hear you, but ten American sailors in their custody right now, Josh. I mean, I think there are a lot of Americans watching this thinking why are we about to give them sanction relief? They have ten Americans wherever, in a boat, in a cell, wherever.”

EARNEST: “These were sanctions imposed on Iran over their nuclear program. As soon as Iran takes steps they've committed to take and those steps can be verified by international nuclear experts we'll know that Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon that said, Jake, we're going to continue to have sanctions in place against Iran because of their support for terrorism, we're going to have sanctions in place against Iran because of continued development of their ballistic missile program. We have been clear about the fact Iran is subject to additional sanctions because of the tests they conducted at the end of last year. We continue to be concerned about this situation. That precisely is why the president made preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon a top national security priority an we're making progress in actually accomplishing that goal."

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