With the president of France at his side, President Barack Obama declared Tuesday he hopes to have international sanctions against Iran in place "within weeks," not months, because of its continuing nuclear program. But he acknowledged he still lacks full support.
"Do we have unanimity in the international community? Not yet. And that's something that we have to work on," Obama said.
Obama said while "the door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk though it," there have been no signs that the Iranians are close to moving back from their nuclear program — and patience has all but run out.
"My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring," Obama said. "I'm not interested in waiting months ... I am interested in seeing that regime in place within weeks."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and he are "inseparable" on such a stance, Obama said.
For his part, Sarkozy told reporters,"Iran cannot continue its mad race" toward acquiring nuclear weapons. "The time has come to take decisions," he said.
Both presidents are trying to build support on the United Nations Security Council for new, tougher sanctions.
Obama and Sarkozy met privately in the Oval Office and later planned dinner at the White House with their wives. After the afternoon meeting, Obama told reporters that France is one of the United States' oldest allies, noting the two countries have fought together on battlefields from Yorktown in the U.S. Revolutionary War to Afghanistan now.
Obama said meeting global challenges such as Iran require global cooperation. Obama also said the pair discussed the financial regulatory overhaul and peace negotiations in the Middle East.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton predicted new sanctions would be forthcoming. At the conclusion of an international meeting of eight major powers in Quebec, Clinton cited a growing alarm around the world about the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran.
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