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Obama and Sarkozy unite in call for tougher sanctions on Iran

Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy give a press conference in the White House, 30 March 2010.
Presidents Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy give a press conference in the White House, 30 March 2010. Reuters

US President Barack Obama, backed by visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said on Tuesday that he wanted tough new UN sanctions imposed on Iran within weeks. Obama admitted, however, that other world powers were "not yet" agreed on the specifics of the new measures, as he and Sarkozy made an apparently coordinated effort to push China and Russia for action.

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"My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring," Obama said, warning that he was not interested in waiting months for the new United Nations measures to be imposed.

"The time has come to take decisions. Iran cannot continue its mad race," Sarkozy said during a joint press conference with Obama, adding that Europe would stand united in the push for sanctions.

Their comments came as G8 foreign ministers meeting in Canada urged "in the strongest possible terms" that Iran cooperate with five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

The Obama administration has spent months trying to convince China, which has been reluctant to embrace tough sanctions on Iran, to join the international effort.

"Do we have unanimity in the international community? Not yet. And that's something that we have to work on," Obama said, admitting that Iran was a major oil producer and had several commercial partners.

Sarkozy and Obama said their talks also covered a long list of international issues, including Afghanistan, US peace efforts in the Middle East and the global economic recovery.

Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife, Carla Bruni, flew back to Paris on Tuesday night.

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