Obama: Iran 'on notice' in face of 'unprecedented show of unity'

PITTSBURGH -- President Obama said Friday that the international community is pressuring Iran on its nuclear program with an "unprecedented show of unity" that will be hard for the country to ignore.

The president, wrapping up the G-20 economic summit here with a press conference, said Iran is "on notice," and he said that reactions from both China and Russia represent a break from previous warnings to Iran.

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Both countries have been reluctant in the past to pressure or sanction Iran over its pursuit of nuclear weapons, but after Obama and British and French leaders revealed intelligence showing an underground uranium enrichment facility, China and Russia called for immediate investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"That kind of solidarity is not typical," Obama said.

The president, as he has done before, refused to rule out military action against Iran, saying he prefers to solve the situation diplomatically and Iran will have a chance to begin that process at negotiations with the United Nations Security Council next week.

"We're going to give Oct. 1 a chance," Obama said of the meeting.

The president also took on his Republican critics who said Friday that evidence of Iran's quest for nuclear weapons was proof that Obama's policy of engagement with the Iranian government had only emboldened that country's leaders.

Obama said that he has stressed since the campaign that "by keeping the path of diplomacy open, that would actually strengthen world unity and our collective efforts to then hold Iran accountable."

The president said Iran and the world are now "starting to see the product of that strategy."

Obama said that he and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are "absolutely confident" in the accuracy of the intelligence they presented to the IAEA this week.

"It is very important in these kinds of high-stakes situations to make sure that the intelligence is right," he said.

The president disputed the characterization of his staff that the revelation of the intelligence is a "victory" for retarding or halting an Iranian nuclear program.

"This isn't a football game," Obama said. "So I'm not interested in victory, I'm interested in solving the problem."