President Obama says now is not the time for new sanctions on Iran as some members of Congress have suggested, saying if the international community is serious about negotiations, it has to create an atmosphere that gets Iran to continue to move toward resolving the nuclear issue.
Mr. Obama said the interim deal world powers struck with Iran in Geneva has already led to some rolling back of Iran's nuclear capabilities -- the first time that has happened in almost a decade of dispute.
He said now, the international community has a structure in place to see if it is possible for Iran to assure the world any peaceful nuclear program it has will not be weaponized.
Mr. Obama said it is very important to test that, saying the alternative is the possibility of having to engage in some kind of conflict to resolve the problem. He reiterated that he is keeping "all options on the table."
The president added that he is not surprised about lawmakers' calls for fresh sanctions. He said the politics of being "tough on Iran" look good for those running for office; but, he said now is the time to see if the issue can be resolved diplomatically. He said if Iran proves unable to give the necessary assurances, it will not be hard to strengthen sanctions further.