U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said that he believed the United States and the international community could have United Nations sanctions against Iran “within weeks,” over Iran’s alleged nuclear development programme.
Speaking at a press conference with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Obama said that the U.S. had made clear that there would be a time limit to the engagement-based approach, and if progress was not evident by the end of the year, it would be time to move forwards on that sanctions track.
“I am not interested in waiting months for a sanctions regime to be in place. I am interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks, and we are working diligently with our international partners,” Mr. Obama said, adding that the U.S. would “move forcefully on a UN sanctions regime.”
However he acknowledged that support for sanctions against Iran might not be as forthcoming as he’d hoped: “Do we have unanimity [regarding the need for sanctions] in the international community? Not yet, and that’s something we have to work on.”
The President also conceded that conflict in the Middle East as a consequence of Iran’s actions could have a “huge destabilising effect” in terms of the world economy, which was just coming out of a very deep recession.
In an indication of U.S. concern over the risk of a spike in global oil prices Mr. Obama said, “Let’s be honest, Iran is an oil producer and a lot of countries around the world, regardless of Iran’s offences, are thinking that their commercial interests are more important to them than these long term geo-political interests.”