Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on its nuclear activity to help pave way for a landmark atomic deal, US President Barack Obama said on Monday.
In an interview with Reuters at the White House, Obama said there is a “substantial disagreement” between his administration and the Israeli government over how to achieve their shared goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist … if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The US goal is to make sure “there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one,” Obama was quoted as saying.
Israel fears that Obama’s Iran diplomacy, with an end-of-March deadline for a framework nuclear agreement, will still allow its arch-foe to develop an atom bomb.
Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons.
Asked about the prospects for a final deal with Iran, which has a June 30 deadline, Obama said a key doubt was whether Iran would agree to rigorous inspection demands and the low levels of uranium enrichment capability it would have to maintain.
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