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The aggregate interference distribution in cognitive radio networks is studied in a rigorous analytical way using the popular Poisson point process model. While a number of results are available for this model of regular (non-cognitive) networks, cognitive ones present an extra level of difficulties for the analysis, mainly due to the exclusion region around the primary receiver, which are typically addressed via various ad-hoc approximations (e.g. based on the interference cumulants) or via the large-deviation analysis. Unlike the previous studies, we do not use here ad-hoc approximations but rather obtain the asymptotic interference distribution in a systematic and rigorous way, which also has a guaranteed level of accuracy at the distribution tail. This is in contrast to the large deviation analysis, which provides only the (exponential) order of scaling but not the outage probability itself. Unlike the cumulant-based analysis, our approach provides a guaranteed level of accuracy at the distribution tail. Additionally, our analysis provides a number of novel insights. In particular, we demonstrate that there is a critical transition point below which the outage probability decays only polynomially but above which it decays super-exponentially. This provides a solid analytical foundation to the earlier empirical observations in the literature and also reveals what are the typical ways outage events occur in different regimes. The analysis is further extended to include interference cancelation and fading (from a broad class of distributions). The outage probability is shown to scale down exponentially in the number of canceled nearest interferers in the below-critical region and does not change significantly in the above-critical one. The proposed asymptotic expressions are shown to be accurate in the non-asymptotic regimes.