Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade

(Reuters) – Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, but the odds are still against sealing a final agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters on Monday.

Interviewed at the White House, Obama moved to dial back tensions over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on Tuesday opposing the Iran deal, saying it was a distraction that would not be “permanently destructive” to U.S. Israeli ties.

But he strongly criticized Netanyahu’s stance and stressed there was a “substantial disagreement” between them over how to achieve their shared goal of preventing Israel’s arch foe from acquiring nuclear weapons.

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