WASHINGTON – The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one with Iran to find a diplomatic settlement to the impasse over Tehran’s reported pursuit of nuclear weapons, but there’s no agreement now to meet.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Saturday that President Barack Obama has made it clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and will do whatever’s necessary to prevent that from happening. Vietor said Iran must come in line with its obligations, or else face increased pressure.
The New York Times reported Saturday that the U.S. and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to negotiations. The paper said Iran has insisted the talks wait until after the Nov. 6 election.
Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will meet Monday in a debate focusing on foreign policy, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions will likely be a topic. Obama has said he’ll prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He hopes sanctions alongside negotiations can get Iran to halt uranium enrichment. But the strategy hasn’t worked yet. Obama holds out the threat of military action as a last resort. Romney has accused Obama of being weak on Iran and says the U.S. needs to present a greater military threat.