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At Appearance with Sarkozy, Obama Talks Tough on Iranian Nuke Program

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, are seen following their joint press conference after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, July 25, 2008. (Associated Press)

By William Branigin
Sen. Barack Obama urged Iran Friday to "end its illicit nuclear program" or face increased pressure from a unified international community, and he warned Tehran not to "wait for the next president" before accepting proposals to resolve a stalemate with Western countries.

His comments came at a joint news conference here after conferring with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Illinois senator said he found "uniform concern about Iran" in his meetings with leaders in the Middle East and Europe during a seven-country tour that concludes in Britain Saturday.

A day after a speech in Berlin before an estimated 200,000 people, Obama used the news conference to press his call for greater U.S.-European cooperation and to portray a possible Obama administration as one that would listen to its allies and seek consensus in dealing with problems, such as global warming, that require an international effort.

In response to one French reporter's question, Obama said he felt obliged to "remind everybody that I'm not the president," and he expressed support for "a wonderful tradition" in U.S. politics of not "criticizing a sitting president when you're overseas."

While noting that "it's very important that our foreign policy is presented with one voice," he said, "What I can say affirmatively is that an effective U.S. foreign policy will be based on our ability not only to project power, but also to listen and to build consensus."

Sarkozy offered praise that stopped just short of an endorsement. He said he found "a tremendous convergence of views" with Obama on issues including Iran, Middle East peace and climate change.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 25, 2008; 3:26 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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