Q You had a back-and-forth with the leader of Iran this morning via tweet. What message did you send to him with your tweets this morning?
THE PRESIDENT: There is no message. You know, I’ll tell you what the message is: When they’re ready, they’ll have to let us know. When they’re ready, they’ll let us know. Very simple.
Q Ready to negotiate, you mean?
THE PRESIDENT: Ready to do whatever. Doesn’t make any difference. Whatever they want to do, I’m ready. Okay?
Q Do you have an exit strategy for Iran if war does break out? How do you —
THE PRESIDENT: Say it.
Q Do you have an exit strategy for Iran if war does break out?
THE PRESIDENT: You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.
THE PRESIDENT: [...] And I’m all for Iran. I have so many people — Iranian friends. I come from New York. I have tremendous numbers of Iranian friends. They’re great people. They’re from Iran. They’re wonderful people. It’s too bad this is happening. They’re living badly right now. Their country is not doing well, economically, at all. That can be changed very quickly, very easily. But they have to get rid of the hostility from the leadership. And the leadership — I hope they stay. I hope they do a great job. But they should talk to us decently.
We’re all for them. We want it to be done properly. But the deal that was done by President Obama — $150 billion for nothing. He used the money for terror. They gave the money out to terrorists.
If you remember, John Kerry — they asked him that question: “Do you know the money is going to be used for terror?” He said, “Yes.” Essentially, he said at least some of it is going to be used — I mean, he knew about it. He actually said that some of the money may be used for terror. What kind of a deal is that?
Then they gave him $1.8 billion in cash — cash. Planeloads of cash. What kind of a deal is that?
And the biggest problem is they had bad testing. You weren’t able to see many of the sites. You saw that, Tim.
SENATOR SCOTT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You couldn’t go into the most important sites to test, to see. They were probably making this stuff for a long time. But with $150 billion going to them, they were doing very well. And $1.8 billion in cash. And you had no real right of testing. You couldn’t test properly.
And most importantly, the agreement ends in a very short period of time. So they had a path to nuclear weapons. We cannot allow Iran to have a path to nuclear weapons.
And, by the way, we have tremendous support, tremendous support. And people were very happy with what I did the other day by not doing something, okay? But we had tremendous and we have tremendous support. Nobody wants to see Iran have nuclear weapons.
Thank you very much everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Q Do you think they understood the message you were sending them last week? You decided not to strike —
THE PRESIDENT: I hope they understood the message. I decided not to strike. They shot down unmanned — as you know, an unmanned drone.
Q But do you think they take your threats seriously now, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: I think everybody does. I think you do, too. Goodbye. (Laughter.)