Remarks to Reporters on American Hostages in Iran
THE PRESIDENT. As I'm sure you realize, we have been seeking a positive development in Iran and have had in mind the transfer of the American hostages from control of the militants to the care and protection of the Iranian Government. If this action had not been taken, or is not taken, we were considering additional sanctions against Iran and had notified the Iranian Government of that fact.
This morning, the President of Iran has announced that the hostages' control would be transferred to the Government of Iran, which we consider to be a positive step.
In light of that action, we do not consider it appropriate now to impose additional sanctions. We will monitor the situation very closely. We would like to see this positive development continue, and our foremost consideration and our constant effort will be devoted to the hostages and their return to this country and to freedom.
Q. Mr. President, are you now assured that the hostages will, in fact, be transferred, and if so, when? Is that a factor in your decision today?
THE PRESIDENT. We have no assurance that this will be done except that the President of Iran has announced that it will be done.
Q. When do you think they'll be actually released and home and safe? And will you meet the conditions that Iran has laid down in terms of no involvement, no conspiring, or whatever they are saying?
THE PRESIDENT. We do not consider it necessary at this time to impose additional sanctions, but that is always an option open to us. The best assumption now is that the President of Iran is speaking for his government and that the hostages will indeed be transferred to the care and the protection of the government itself.
Q. Well, do you know when they'll be actually released, I mean, brought home?
THE PRESIDENT. I presume that we will know more about that as the circumstances develop. We do not know the exact time schedule at this moment.
Q. Are we now willing to wait in this posture until the parliament convenes and takes up the hostage issue there?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, we want the hostages to be released completely as soon as possible. I think the only thing I can say now is, based upon the statement of the President of Iran, that the hostages will be transferred to the care and protection of the Iranian Government. And if that is carried out, then I see no reason to impose additional sanctions against Iran at this time.
We will assume that the President will carry out the commitment that he has made early this morning, and if that assumption is proven to be accurate, then I do not intend to impose additional sanctions.
Q. Have you agreed to the conditions set by Bani-Sadr—no hostile action by the United States, no provocation and no propaganda?
THE PRESIDENT. We will maintain the present restraints on trade that have already been imposed against Iran, including the holding of their assets in our country and the prohibition against any trade with Iran. But I do not consider it appropriate at this time to impose additional sanctions, since we have had, in response to our earlier message, an answer from the Government of Iran through their President that the control and the protection and the care of the hostages will be transferred from the militants to the government.
Q. What did you actually threaten, and do you think that your threats were the cause of the breakthrough?
THE PRESIDENT. I'm sorry?
Q. I said, what did you actually threaten, and do you think that your threats were the cause of the breakthrough?
THE PRESIDENT. We had decided to impose additional sanctions, and this fact was made known both to the public and to the Government of Iran. This was done about a week ago, and the Iranian Government has considered the entire situation, as have we. The President of Iran has made a positive step by announcing that the control of the hostages and their protection and care would be shifted to the Iranian Government, and because of that positive step, we do not intend to carry out additional sanctions against Iran at this time.
REPORTERS. Thank you, Mr. President.
Note: The President spoke at 7:20 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.
Jimmy Carter, Remarks to Reporters on American Hostages in Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250402