“If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist ... [if] we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon," Obama told Reuters White House reporter Jeff Mason.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied a report that U.S. negotiators were working toward a 10-year deal with Iran.
Obama said negotiators are working toward ensuring "there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one." Iran had come within two to three months of a bomb when negotiations began, according to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security in September 2013.
Reprising previous comments on Netanyahu's planned visit, which the White House has opposed, the president called it a "mistake" that would not ultimately be "permanently destructive" to the U.S./Israeli relationship.
"I think that it is a distraction from what should be our focus. And our focus should be,‘How do we stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?’" the president said.