U.S. official: Proposed agreement with Iran not limited to decade

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The proposed nuclear agreement with Iran will not be limited to a decade, a senior U.S. official said.

On Sunday, the unnamed official who briefed Israeli journalists by phone said the deal would include several phases and last for longer than a decade, according to Israeli media reports. The official added that the world powers negotiating with Iran are “not rushing” to reach a deal.

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Still, the United States plans to achieve its goal of reaching the outline of an agreement by the end of March, the official said, with the deal signed three months later.

The world powers, the official said, are working for “the right deal and we’re not rushing. We want a political agreement and we want the right agreement without having time pressures.” Also, the official said, the world powers “will not allow Iran to go nuclear.”

“We can reach a long-term agreement that will distance Iran from a nuclear weapon, an agreement that will last more than a decade, an agreement that will be better than a military strike,” the official said.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” President Barack Obama said the world powers have offered Iran an “extraordinarily reasonable deal,” but that gaps between the two sides remain.

Obama said that Iran must be willing to “accept the kind of verification and constraints on their program that so far, at least, they have not been willing to say yes to.”

He also said that the United States and the world powers would “walk away” rather than accept a bad deal.

“If we cannot verify that they are not going to obtain a nuclear weapon, that there’s a breakout period so that even if they cheated we would be able to have enough time to take action, if we don’t have that kind of deal, then we’re not going to take it,” Obama said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an address spoke last week before a joint session of Congress called the current outline a “bad deal” and said the lawmakers should reject it.