WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iran is still "a year or more" away from producing a nuclear weapon, an assessment he acknowledged was at odds with Israel.
"Our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services," Obama said in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press.
The president spoke to the AP on Friday, four days into the partial shutdown of the federal government. He reiterated his opposition to negotiating with House Republicans to end the shutdown or raise the nation's debt ceiling.
"There are enough votes in the House of Representatives to make sure that the government reopens today," he said. "And I'm pretty willing to bet that there are enough votes in the House of Representatives right now to make sure that the United States doesn't end up being a deadbeat."
The start of the shutdown coincided with the opening of sign-ups for the insurance exchanges at the heart of Obama's health care law. Some House Republicans are seeking changes to the law in exchange for reopening the government.
The rollout of the insurance exchanges has been shaky, with government-run websites plagued by glitches. Despite the problems, Obama told frustrated Americans they "definitely shouldn't give up."
"Folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times," he said.
Obama blamed the error messages and long wait times on public interest that exceeded the government's expectations. However, he said he didn't know how many people had so far managed to sign up for insurance.
Administration officials have said they do not plan to release real-time data on the number of people enrolling, though some states running their own exchange websites are doing so.
The federal gateway website was taken down for repairs over the weekend, again hindering people from signing up for insurance.