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Obama: No 'freebies' to Iran

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- Exposing a rift with Israel, President Barack Obama insisted Sunday that the United States has not "given anything away" in new talks with Iran as he defended his continued push for a diplomatic resolution to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Obama said he refused to let the talks turn into a "stalling process," but believed there was still time for diplomacy.

His assessment, delivered at the close of a Latin American summit in Colombia, came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said Sunday the United States and other world powers had given Tehran a "freebie" by agreeing to hold more talks next month.

Obama shot back: "The notion that somehow we've given something away or a 'freebie' would indicate Iran has gotten something. In fact, they've got some of the toughest sanctions that they're going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don't take advantage of these talks."

Winding down his three-day trip, Obama also sought to offer hope for a fresh start with Cuba, saying the United States would welcome the communist-run island's transition to democracy.

Standing alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Obama also proclaimed a free-trade agreement between their countries as a win all-around, even as labor leaders back home denounced it. -- AP

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