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Iran's Supreme Leader Rejects Long-term Limits on Nuclear Program

FILE - Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with Iranian ambassadors in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 13, 2014.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear in an address Tuesday night that Iran will not accept any long-term curbing of its nuclear program as negotiators from his country and a group of world powers close in on a deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement.

The two sides have been working on the details of a plan to scale back Iran's nuclear program for a period of 10 years in exchange for relief from sanctions that have hurt the country's economy. June 30 is their self-imposed deadline after reaching a framework agreement in early April.

Khamenei said limitations lasting for 10 or 12 years would be unacceptable. He also reiterated that Iran would not allow international inspectors to access military sites as part of any program to verify it is complying with the agreement.

The speed at which sanctions would be unraveled has been a key sticking point in the final negotiations, with the group that includes Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany seeking a phased repeal.

But Khamenei said Tuesday that Iran wants the economic measures lifted as soon as a deal is signed.

A comprehensive agreement is meant to address accusations that Iran has been working for years to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at civilian applications such as medical research and power generation.