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France, U.S. pressure Iran

Obama urges U.N. to enact sanctions

WASHINGTON – 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 at the United Nations.

“Do we have unanimity in the international community? Not yet,” Obama said. “And that’s something that we have to work on.”

Obama said he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are “inseparable” in their thinking on the subject.

For his part, Sarkozy told reporters, “Iran cannot continue its mad race” toward acquiring nuclear weapons.

On the U.N. Security Council, veto-wielding permanent members Russia and China have expressed reservations toward a tougher set of sanctions, as have several of the rotating members who do not have veto powers.

Obama said he understands that countries that have business ties with Iran, especially those who depend on Iran for oil imports, might have reservations.

But Obama said that, while “the door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk though it,” there have been no signs that they 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. So I’m not interested in waiting months for a sanctions regime to be in place. I’m interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks.”

Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton predicted new sanctions would be forthcoming.