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Obama credits 'diplomacy' for effective nuclear deal with Iran

The US president has said the nuclear deal paved the way for resolving issues "without resorting to another war." Obama's statement comes as State Secretary John Kerry said the US will repay a debt with interest.

US President Barack Obama on Sunday praised "diplomacy" in resolving a decade-long dispute regarding Iran's nuclear program that Western countries claimed was being used to create a nuclear weapon.

"We've achieved this historic progress through diplomacy, without resorting to another war in the Middle East," Obama said as he addressed reporters at the White House.

On Saturday, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran abided by a nuclear accord agreed upon last year between the Islamic republic and six world powers, effectively triggering the lifting of sanctions that crippled the country's economy.

Obama also discussed the positive effects of solving the issue through diplomacy, including the ability to cooperate on issues that may have previously led to hostilities, such as the release of US Navy sailors that strayed into Iranian waters and were detained last week.

He also announced that Tehran had released several American prisoners, who were detained - some for years - in Iranian prisons, including Washington Post reporter and ex-Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian. The former prisoners landed in Switzerland on Sunday night.

"Jason Rezaian is coming home - a courageous journalist…who wrote about the daily lives and dreams of the Iranian people," Obama noted.

Obama's statement comes as US State Secretary John Kerry announced Washington will repay a $400 million (376 million euros) debt to Iran, including $1.3 billion in interest, which dates back three decades.

ls/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)