2015-03-02T221009Z_1_LYNXMPEB210ZY_RTROPTP_2_USA-OBAMA

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

U.S. President Obama speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in WashingtonBy Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (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. Talks between major powers and Iran to restrict Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for an easing of sanctions have reached a critical stage ahead of an end of March deadline for a framework deal and a June 30 date for a final agreement.

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