US President Obama
US President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement to the press after a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama says Iran must freeze its nuclear program for at least 10 years for a nuclear deal to be reached.Getty Images

US President Barack Obama said on Monday (2 March) that Iran must freeze its nuclear program for at least 10 years in order for a nuclear deal to be reached.

Speaking from the White House, Obama told Reuters: "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 that, and 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.

"But if they do agree to it, it would be far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be."

Obama said it's the US goal to ensure that,"there's at least a year between us seeing them [Iran] try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one."

Obama also spoke on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned speech at the US Congress on Tuesday (3 March) in opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.

He said while there was "substantial disagreement" between the Obama administration and Israel on how to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, the rift over Netanyahu's speech would not be "permanently destructive" to the US Israel ties.

"This is not a personal issue. I think that it is important for every country in its relationship with the United States to recognize that the U.S. has a process of making policy," said Obama.

Meanwhile, in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday (2 March), Netanyahu insisted that the US Israel ties are "stronger than ever" but warned that a nuclear deal with Iran could threaten Israel's survival, reported Reuters.