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President Barack Obama attempts diplomatic solution with Iran

President Barack Obama says there is still time to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's disputed nuclear program.

March 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
President Barack Obama says there is still time to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's disputed nuclear program. He accuses Republican rivals of "beating the drums of war" and says they're too casual with American lives.

The president spoke at his first news conference of the year on Tuesday and Iran was the focus. And although the crisis atmosphere over Iran's nuclear program may have eased somewhat, he says the tension still exists. The U.S. and its allies believe Iran is on its way toward production of a nuclear weapon. The suspicions have led to a crises atmosphere.

"At this stage it is my belief we have a window of opportunity where this can still be solved diplomatically," said Obama.

But it's feared that Israel won't wait and might attack Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres was in California at Facebook's headquarters and was asked about Iran.

"I don't feel any hate for them, but the Ayatollahs- this small group of terror, of hatred of quantity of killing- is the great story of Iran," said Peres.

This comes as world powers agreed to a new round of talks about Iran. The members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have agreed to nuclear talks with the country; last year's ended in failure.

"We hope that we will be able to now pursue with Iran constructive engagement with the hope of addressing the international community's concerns about the nuclear program," said European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.

Obama was well aware it's Super Tuesday, where candidates for his job are fighting for the Republican nomination. All the candidates have criticized the president's handling of the Iran situation.

"Those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities," said Obama. "They're not commander in chief. And when I see the casualness which some of these folks talk about war I'm reminded of the costs involved in war."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said thugs and tyrants will only respect U.S. resolve backed by military might. Rick Santorum said Obama's plan to proceed with diplomacy is another appeasement, another delay.

"I think there is no doubt that those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war should explain to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be," said Obama.

The president said he emphasized diplomacy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. He suggested that Israeli pressure for immediate action against Iran is not supported by the facts. He believes a decision about action isn't necessary for months.