US will `walk away` if verifiable Iran nuclear deal not reached: Obama
President Barack Obama assured in a taped television interview Sunday that the United States was prepared to "walk away" from nuclear talks with Iran if a verifiable deal cannot be reached with Tehran.
Washington: President Barack Obama assured in a taped television interview Sunday that the United States was prepared to "walk away" from nuclear talks with Iran if a verifiable deal cannot be reached with Tehran.
Obama made the comments Saturday as US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris to smooth over differences with France, which has pressed for greater guarantees that an agreement will stop Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.
"If there is no deal then we walk away," Obama said in the interview, which aired on CBS Sunday Morning.
"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," he said.
Obama said the negotiations on Iran`s nuclear program were gaining "greater urgency because we have been negotiating for over a year."
"And the good news is during this period Iran has abided by the terms of (an interim) agreement. We know what is happening on the ground in Iran. They have not advanced their nuclear program.
"So we`re not losing anything through these talks. On the other hand, you get to a point in negotiations where it is not a matter of technical issues any more, it is a matter of political will."
In Paris, Kerry agreed with the French that there were still gaps to overcome in the "critical weeks" ahead.
"We want an agreement that`s solid," Kerry told reporters after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
"We want an agreement that will guarantee that we are holding any kind of program that continues in Iran accountable to the highest standards so that we know in fact that it is a peaceful program."
Fabius stressed that "differences still remain" which had to be "overcome" and "there is still work to do."
Fabius had expressed his concerns over the deal on Friday, saying "as regards the numbers, controls and the length of the agreement, the situation is still not sufficient."
Iran has long denied seeking to arm itself with an atomic bomb, insisting its nuclear program is for energy production and other civilian purposes.