Obama: Still a Big Gap in Nuclear Talks With Iran

'We may not be able to get there,' President tells 'Face the Nation.'

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Haaretz
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Obama speaks before a national security briefing on militant threat in Syria and Iraq, August 28, 2014.
Obama speaks before a national security briefing on militant threat in Syria and Iraq, August 28, 2014.Credit: AP
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Haaretz

U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday that there is still "a big gap" in nuclear negotiations with Iran. "We may not be able to get there," he said in an interview with "Face the Nation."

"Our number one priority with respect to Iran is making sure they don't get a nuclear weapon," he said.

Obama also touched on reports that the U.S. is linking an agreement with Iran with the fight against Islamic State. "I've been very clear publicly and privately we are not connecting in any way the nuclear negotiations from the issue of ISIL," the president said.

On Syria, Obama said: "Is it still our policy that we want President Assad of Syria to go? It is still our policy."

Western countries and close U.S. ally Israel suspect Iran has covertly sought to develop the means to build nuclear weapons, and a decade-long confrontation over the issue has raised the risk of a wider war in the volatile Middle East.

With two weeks to a deadline for a breakthrough deal, senior envoys of Iran, the United States and European Union met in Oman on Sunday to tackle stumbling blocks in efforts to defuse the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not accept an international agreement that enabled Iran to remain a nuclear threshold state, calling that scenario a danger for the entire world.

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