President Obama on Wednesday scolded a reporter who asked during a White House news conference why Americans imprisoned in Iran were not part of a nuclear deal reached this week.

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"As you well know, there are four Americans in Iran, three held on trumped-up charges, according to your administration," CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett said.

"Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?" Garrett asked.

"I've got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions," Obama replied slowly. "The notion that I am content, as I celebrate, with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails?"

"Major, that's nonsense. And you should know better," Obama said after a pause, mentioning that he had met with family members who have urged his administration to continue pushing for the Americans’ release.

"Nobody's content, and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to get them out," Obama said.

The president suggested that it was untenable for the release of the Americans to be part of the international agreement announced Tuesday that lifts sanctions on Iran in exchange for new limits on its nuclear program.

"If we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we'd still be pushing just as hard to get those folks out," Obama said.