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Obama says US will ‘walk away’ from bad Iran deal

President emphasizes deal must ensure world powers would have enough time to take action if Tehran cheats

Former US president Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House December 19, 2014, in Washington, DC. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
Former US president Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House December 19, 2014, in Washington, DC. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

President Barack Obama said Sunday that the United States would “walk away” from nuclear talks with Iran if there’s no acceptable deal.

Obama said that any agreement must allow Western powers to verify that Tehran isn’t going to obtain an atomic weapon, and must ensure that even if Iran “cheated,” the US and others would have “enough time to take action.”

Speaking on CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” the president noted that that “if we don’t have that kind of deal, then we’re not going to take it.”

Big gaps remain to bridge if the sides are to reach a deal by the end of March deadline set by negotiators. The next round of talks is set to begin March 15.

Iran says the program is peaceful and exists only to produce energy for civilian use. However, Israeli officials have repeatedly warned that the fact that Tehran insists on enriching uranium is a sign that the program is intended for military purposes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Sunday to continue his fight against a possible bad deal, less than a week after giving a controversial address before the US Congress against the backdrop of a nadir in ties between him and Obama.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that Israel would “continue to take all possible action to deny the largest terrorist state in the world the ability to produce the most dangerous weapon in the world, a weapon which is aimed – first and foremost – against us.”

Iran and the six-nation group — the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — hope to reach a rough deal on Iran’s disputed nuclear program by March 31 and a final agreement by June 30.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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