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Obama seeks global support for Iranian sanctions

WASHINGTON - With the president of France at his side, President Barack Obama declared yesterday that 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.

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

He said while "the door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk through it," there have been no signs that the Iranians 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," Obama said. "I'm not interested in waiting months . . . I am interested in seeing that regime in place within weeks."

President Nicolas Sarkozy and he are "inseparable" on such a stance, Obama said. For his part, Sarkozy told reporters, "Iran cannot continue its mad race" toward acquiring nuclear weapons. "The time has come to take decisions," he said.

Both are trying to build support in the UN Security Council for new, tougher sanctions.

Obama and Sarkozy met privately in the Oval Office and planned dinner at the White House with their wives.

Obama said the pair also discussed the financial regulatory overhaul and peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the end of a meeting of eight major powers in Quebec, predicted that new sanctions against Iran would be forthcoming.

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