- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2015

Businessman and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump says he could have secured a deal with Iran that would have entailed the release of several Americans held prisoner in the Persian country.

“I guarantee if I were there, you’d have those prisoners. If I were president, you’d have those prisoners, and they’d be back really, really fast,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday evening on Fox News’ “Hannity” program.

He mentioned the release of the hostages from Iran right after former President Reagan was sworn into office.

At President Obama’s press conference Wednesday, the president bristled at a reporter’s question on why he was “content” to accept the Iranian nuclear deal without securing the release of several Americans being held in Iran and said if the deal was tied to their release, Iran could try to win additional concessions.

“I just think it’s incredible — I think his answer is incredible that it would have opened up the [negotiation]. It’s a simple thing,” Mr. Trump said. “We want our prisoners back; they’re not doing you any good. They’re in horrible jails, from what I hear the worst. And these are four people that shouldn’t be there in the first place, so, I mean, it’s just incredible that he would say something like that.”

“That’s such a simple thing to do,” he continued. “And it would have been good for them. You know what, it would have softened the deal even from their standpoint. They don’t want these prisoners. They don’t need these prisoners. It’s almost like they’re taunting us by keeping [these] prisoners.”

SEE ALSO: Obama angered by question about Americans held by Iran

Mr. Trump said he would have “doubled and tripled up the sanctions very easily” and “would have waited for them to call us.”

“I would have said we want the prisoners, by the way, before we even start — they would have given ‘em up in about 10 minutes. And believe me, we would have had a deal that would have been much better,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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