WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama said that if Iran could not be persuaded to "come clean" about its nuclear program via diplomacy, the US will consider other options.
Speaking at a press conference at the conclusion of a G-20 summit, Obama said that, "When we find that diplomacy does not work, we will be in a much stronger position to, for example, apply sanctions that have bite. That's not the preferred course of action. I would love nothing more than to see Iran choose the responsible path."
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Obama joined the leaders of Britain and France in accusing the Islamic Republic of clandestinely building an underground plant to make nuclear fuel that could be used to build an atomic bomb.
Iranian officials acknowledged the facility but insisted it had been reported to nuclear authorities as required.
"Iran's action raised grave doubts about its promise to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only," he added, saying the Islamic Republic will soon have to choose "between international isolation and giving up any aspirations to becoming a nuclear power… If they refuse to give ground, they will stay on a path that is going to lead to confrontation.
"Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow. The size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program," the American president said.
Asked about the prospect of using military force to stop Iran from getting the bomb, Obama said: "With respect to the military, I've always said that we do not rule out any options when it comes to US security interests, but I will also re-emphasize that my preferred course of action is to resolve this in a diplomatic fashion. It's up to the Iranians to respond."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, at his own news conference in Pittsburgh, urged Iran to cooperate and "demonstrate its good intentions": "We call on Iran to show maximum cooperation with the IAEA on this issue," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report